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Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorses MJ Hegar in Texas U.S. Senate race

The chair of the committee, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, said Hegar is the strongest candidate to flip the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Sen. John Cornyn.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) announced Monday it is endorsing combat veteran MJ Hegar in the Texas U.S. Senate race

With less than three months until the Texas 2020 primary election and 12 candidates vying for the chance to take on Senator John Cornyn, endorsements can carry weight to voters.

"I think voters are looking for cues," said Ross Ramsey, co-founder and executive editor of The Texas Tribune. "You see a sea of names and they're all Rs or they're all Ds and so you need other cues. Sometimes that's a slate card, sometimes it's an endorsement, sometimes it's, 'Well, I saw so-and -so's commercial.'"

State Senator Royce West was leading in the endorsement game early on. In October, dozens of Texas lawmakers, including Austin-area lawmakers and elected officials, threw their support to him.

RELATED: Several Austin Democrats endorse State Sen. Royce West for U.S. Senate

"Not only have they endorsed me but of the 12 Democratic State Senators, as an example, in the State of Texas, 10 have endorsed me for the U.S. Senate race," West said in an October interview with KVUE's Ashley Goudeau. "Of the 67 House members, Democratic House members, 48 have endorsed me."

Monday's announcement potentially carries a lot of weight for Hegar. 

"The Democratic Senate Committee is the Democratic Senators in the United States Senate," Ramsey said. "And they have put their blessing on MJ Hegar."

This endorsement can come with money, support from the Democratic Party and senators and ultimately votes.

But it also comes with criticism. Hegar's competitors will likely use the endorsement to paint her as "Washington's candidate" – a move Ramsey said is more strategy than true sentiment.

"Every one of the 11 candidates who didn't get that endorsement wishes they had," Ramsey said.

DSCC Chair Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said Hegar is the strongest candidate to flip the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Sen. John Cornyn.

RELATED: 

Texas This Week: MJ Hegar, Candidate for U.S. Senate

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"As a decorated combat veteran and working mother, MJ has both the courage and independence to put Texas first and is running on the issues that matter most to Texans: making health care and prescription drugs more affordable, protecting coverage for Texans with pre-existing conditions, and taking action to address climate change," Masto said in a statement. "We are proud to support MJ in her fight to continue her public service in the U.S. Senate.”  

Hegar responded to the endorsement on Monday.

“As a rescue helicopter pilot flying wildfire suppression missions, I was trained to find the biggest bucket of water and use it to put out the biggest fire we could find. I got into this race because that fire is in the Senate, and it is my duty to do what I can to fix it,” Hegar said in part.

Hegar sat down with KVUE's Ashley Goudeau in November to discuss why her sights are now set on the Senate.

VIDEO: Texas This Week: MJ Hegar talks Senate campaign

Hegar previously ran for Congress and was narrowly defeated by the incumbent. 

To read more about the other candidates in the race, visit the Texas This Week section of KVUE.com.

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