Joe Kopser, who made a strong showing in CD21 in 2018, puts himself on the roster of possible not-Beto challengers for John Cornyn in 2020.
Call it the other “Beto Effect“.
Just months after Democrat Beto O’Rourke outperformed expectations by coming within three points of defeating Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Democrats are lining up to run against the sate’s other U.S. Senator, John Cornyn, in 2020.
The latest possible contender is veteran and 2018 Congressional candidate Joseph Kopser, who lost to Republican Chip Roy for an open seat previously held by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio.
“Everything’s on the table for me,” Kopser said in a Wednesday phone interview with the Tribune.
Kopser spoke admiringly of Cornyn, but said he was still considering a run against the state’s senior senator.
“He’s a guy I respect,” Kopser said. “But also, I think if you’ve been in Washington too long, you need to come home.”
All of the interest in running against Cornyn is a striking contrast to two years ago, when multiple Democrats passed on challenging Cruz, leaving O’Rourke as the most prominent name in the primary.
Along with looking at challenging Cornyn, both Hegar and Kopser are also debating whether to run in U.S. House rematches in 2020. Both ran in GOP-leaning districts yet came within three points of defeating their Republican opponents – U.S. Reps. John Carter, R-Round Rock, and Roy, respectively.
See here and here for the background. Kopser was not on my list of possible candidates for this slot in 2020 – neither was Wendy Davis, for that matter – but there’s no reason he couldn’t have been. At this point, I’d say if Beto really is out then Joaquin Castro is my first choice, MJ Hegar is my second choice (though that may mean a greatly diminished chance of taking CD31), and after that it’s a tossup for me between Wendy Davis and Joe Kopser. If he’d rather take another shot at CD21, that’s fine, too. I feel like there may be a wider range of decent candidates there than in CD31 if it comes to it, but if we’ve learned anything from 2018 it’s that there are many more strong possible candidates out there than we’d been giving ourselves credit for. And, as the story notes, now many of them are much more interested in running for something. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a more-good-candidates-than-available-races problem. As I said in the beginning of this cycle, I’m confident we’ll have someone worthwhile running against Cornyn. I feel that has already come true.
A year ago, I was honored to be the Democratic nominee for Ag Commissioner. I traveled all around this great state, running to serve Texans. That hasn’t changed, so I shall run again. Stay tuned! #kim2020
— Kim Olson Col. ret. (@KimOlsonTX) 10:59 PM – 7 March 2019
We may get multiple strong candidates in a primary for Senate regardless of how the Congressional situation sorts itself out.