AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — MJ Hegar wants to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn but she’s going to have to make it thorough another election to do it.

The former Air Force helicopter pilot advanced to a May runoff May after falling short of capturing the nomination outright on Tuesday.

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Sen. John Cornyn and MJ Hegar (credit: CBS 11 News)

Cornyn, who was renominated for a fourth term, is seen as a heavy favorite in November in a state where a Democrat hasn’t won a Senate seat since the 1970s.

Hegar’s potential challengers included long-serving state senator Royce West and Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez, a liberal political organizer who received financial backing from progressive groups and the endorsement of progressive luminaries such as like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

Texas State Senator Royce West on Super Tuesday running for U.S. Senate. (credit: CBS 11 News)

Cornyn was once the second-ranking Senate Republican and has never faced a serious reelection challenge since joining the Senate in 2002.

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This year the race drew a dozen Democratic challengers, and most of the field struggled to gain traction or even name recognition with voters.


Hegar, a Purple Heart recipient who was injured in Afghanistan, entered the race with the highest profile after a failed U.S. House run in 2018 that drew national attention over a series of viral television ads. They highlighted her three tours in Afghanistan and her surviving a helicopter downing by the Taliban.

She won the backing of Senate Democrats’ campaign organization and raised $4 million, more than any of her rivals.

The runoff is May 26.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)