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Senate Democrats prepare seven-figure spending spree in Texas

Senate Democrats prepare seven-figure spending spree in Texas

Senate Democrats’ campaign arm is set to make its first major investment in the general election fight between M.J. Hegar and Sen. John CornynJohn CornynBottom line This week: Senate takes up coronavirus relief after minimum wage setback Senate mulls changes to .9 trillion coronavirus bill MORE (R) in Texas. 

The seven-figure coordinated investment from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) includes spending on television advertising, polling, field organizing and data operations, the group announced on Tuesday.

The new spending was first reported on Tuesday by Politico

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It comes on the heels of an internal poll from the DSCC showing Cornyn and Hegar running neck-and-neck in the Texas Senate race, with the GOP incumbent garnering 43 percent of the vote to Hegar’s 42 percent. Another 15 percent of those surveyed were undecided. 

Democrats have grown increasingly confident about their chances in Texas this year, especially as polling shows a tight race between President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenIntercept bureau chief: minimum wage was not 'high priority' for Biden in COVID-19 relief South Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Obama alum Seth Harris to serve as Biden labor adviser: report MORE in the state. 

The former vice president's campaign has already made moves in Texas, airing its first general election TV ads in the state last month. The campaign also announced a wave of new hires in Texas on Monday and rolled out digital ads to mark the first anniversary of the mass shooting in El Paso. 

Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1988. The last Democrat to win a presidential contest there was former President Carter in 1976.

The state has become a prime target for Democrats in recent years, however, given its rapidly changing demographics and the nationwide defection of suburban voters from the Republican Party. In 2018, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) came within 3 points of ousting Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump Senate confirms Biden Commerce secretary pick Gina Raimondo MORE (R-Texas) in perhaps the closest-watched Senate race of that cycle.

This year, Democrats are trying to recreate their 2018 momentum in Texas. Hegar, a former Air Force helicopter pilot, emerged as the party’s nominee after a run-off primary last month and has begun the process of consolidating Democratic support. 

Republicans believe that Cornyn still has the advantage in the race, pointing to his wide financial advantage over Hegar and other recent polls showing him ahead by significant margins. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the race as likely Republican.