Cornyn is not waiting on 2020

It’s what I’d do if I were Big John Cornyn.

Big John Cornyn

John Cornyn and other politicians say an incumbent should run in one of two ways: scared or unopposed.

Given that philosophy, Texas’s senior senator is having nightmares about his 2020 re-election bid.

Nothing wrong with being scared, especially if it’s early enough to stage the best campaign possible.

For Cornyn, running scared means being prepared.

He has already started his re-election bid, the earliest he’s fired up his machine since beating former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk in 2002.


After November’s election, Cornyn said he was aware that O’Rourke could challenge him in 2020. And even if the El Paso Democrat opted instead for a run for president, he certainly would receive a significant challenge.

Cornyn has called Cruz’s near loss and the Democratic Party push in the midterm elections a “confluence of events” that served as a “wake-up call.”

What’s more, from 2007 to 2011 he served as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, getting a ground view of winning and losing campaigns across the country.

“We’re thinking through this and trying to be prepared,” Cornyn told The Dallas Morning News. “I can’t predict for you what 2020 will be like, but we will be ready.”

Cornyn will not be caught by surprise like Ted Cruz was, and he will not have to scramble to build a ground game like Ted Cruz did. He also benefits from the simple fact of not being Ted Cruz. He’s also going to be running in a Presidential year, with Donald Trump actually on the ballot. As well as Dems did last year, they clearly left votes on the table in some of their stronger districts. There’s room to grow, and as things stand right now I expect them to build on what happened in 2018. Cornyn is in for a tough race. He clearly knows that.

That said, it sure would be nice to get a better idea of who his opponent will, or at least may, be. Beto O’Rourke has the right to take as much time as he feels he needs to decide what he wants to do next, but in the meantime the potential field to challenge Cornyn is frozen. No one wants to jump into this race now, not knowing if Beto will choose to run again for Senate. It will be harder for any prospective candidates to fundraise, and it will be harder to line up institutional and volunteer support. I don’t expect Beto to take too long to make up his mind – as some people have observed, it’s going to start getting difficult to hire experienced campaign staff for a Presidential race soon, as more and more Dems make their own candidacies known – but it sure would be nice if we had an answer by, say, the end of March. People were already posting finance reports for Congress by the end of Q2 in 2017, remember. That helped a lot down the line. Beto is the big piece of the puzzle for Texas that needs to fall into place first. Here’s hoping he figures out his path sooner rather than later.

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5 Responses to Cornyn is not waiting on 2020

  1. Manny Barrera says:

    I am hoping that Beto chooses to run again for Senate. That and with Trump on top of the Russian loving Corrupt Republican Party will make Texas Blue for at least 2020.

  2. Paul Kubosh says:


    You may be right. They don’t know it yet but it would be in the Republicans best interest to lose state wide.

  3. Mainstream says:

    Sen. Cornyn will be stronger against Beto than Sen. Cruz was. I know a fair number of Republicans who voted for Beto, but would stick with Sen. Cornyn, just as they stuck with Gov. Abbott. Sen Cornyn has shown maturity and leadership on a number of issues, most recently on criminal justice reform.

  4. Christopher Busby says:

    I highly doubt Democrats will give Cornyn anything but a grade A challenger but you’re right the Beto factor is delaying a lot of other potential candidates from considering. Given all considerations I can’t help but think Cornyn is in for a rougher ride than Cruz was if Democrats select a strong nominee.

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    Main it has nothing to do with Cornyn is a stronger candidate, it has to do with Trump being a stronger candidate in bringing out people that don’t want him and see people like Cornyn being an extension of Trump.

    It was much easier to get people out to vote this past year because of the Trump factor. It will really motivate more people to come and vote against him.

    But we will see in about 2 years, a whole lot of things can happen. I believe that we may be in the beginning or in a recession by November next year. If that occurs, I expect that the Democrats will control all three branches of the Federal Government.

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