AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott said the State is already preparing for a different virus, MJ Hegar's campaign got a major boost and the presidential candidates stumped in Texas.
Three things to know in Texas politics
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Gov. Greg Abbott and State leaders are also preparing for another virus to hit Texas: influenza. The governor and other State leaders met with influenza experts at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas on Thursday. They talked about ways to increase testing for both the flu and COVID-19 and what actions they and the people of Texas can take to reduce the spread of both viruses. Abbott and health leaders are encouraging Texans to get a flu shot as soon as one is available.
Democrats are hopeful they can clinch the U.S. Senate in the Lone Star State. So hopeful, in fact, that for the first time, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is investing a large sum of money in a Texas race. The campaign arm of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate announced they're putting $1 million into MJ Hegar's campaign against Republican Sen. John Cornyn.
The DSCC released a poll showing Cornyn is just one point ahead of the Democratic newcomer among likely Texas voters. Cornyn still has the bigger war chest and on Twitter called the donation a "swamp-driven effort" that's bad for Texas.
The presidential candidates were stumping in Texas this week. Former Vice President Joe Biden hosted a virtual event with Texas Democrats on Friday afternoon to discuss his commitment to and vision for the Latino community. A few hours later, President Donald Trump's campaign arm, Trump Victory, hosted an in-person MAGA Meetup in Granger to show support for law enforcement.
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul discusses campaign
This November, some candidates on the ballot will be going head-to-head for a second time. That's the case in U.S. Congressional District 10, which stretches all the way from Travis and Bastrop counties to West Houston.
The Democrat fell to McCaul by less than five percentage points in 2018. Rep. McCaul spoke with KVUE Political Anchor Ashley Goudeau about his re-election campaign.
Ashley Goudeau: First, tell our viewers why you want another term in Congress.
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul: "Well, you know, I, I feel like I represent the majority of people, my district. I mean, in terms of their values and vision for America, I think I've been very effective and I've gotten results for the people of Texas 10. And I think, I think there's more work to be done. I went from being Chairman of Homeland Security now to the top Republican leader on the Foreign Affairs Committee. When I chaired Homeland, the threat was ISIS and the Caliphate. And now as I lead Foreign Affairs, the threats are more Russia, China, Iran, North Korea. So, I think the stakes are very high right now. And I also chair the China Task Force. There's just a lot more work to be done to make, keep Americans safe and Texans safe."
Goudeau: In 2018, your Democratic challenger, Mike Siegel, came within four points of you. Are you at all concerned that he will be able to make up that difference this election?
McCaul: "I think, I have to say it was a bit of an anomaly last election cycle. You had a top of the ticket with Beto-Cruz, straight-party ticket, and everybody down-ballot. He had 6% name ID. He got 48% on Election Day. We are taking this serious though. I'm running on the strongest, most robust campaigns I've run in my career. We have over 100 high school and college interns, very diverse group of kids out there knocking on doors, making phone calls. We're raising the money. We're taking this very, very seriously. And, you know, running my own campaign. I'm running on a results record and effectiveness. I was ranked by Georgetown University as the most bipartisan legislator from the State of Texas and the third most effective member in the House. And I passed No. 2 in terms of passed bills out of the House of Representatives. And Ashley, how can I get that done in the minority, you may ask? That's because I'm bipartisan. And you have to be bipartisan to be effective. And what most of my constituents want is for me to work across the aisle,on the other side, to work together, to get good things done for the American people and the people of Texas 10."
Goudeau: Siegel has said that you're in favor of spending trillions of dollars to prop up the stock market and that you're not really willing to help the people of District 10. How do you respond to those claims?
McCaul: "No, I'm – we're for the working man and woman. I think we did that with our trade deal with China. The USMCA, Canada and Mexico. I think his plan of the Green New Deal, which would cost upwards of $90 trillion is not right through the people of District 10 or the American people. I personally think his views are a little too radical for the people of District 10. You know, his own Democrat opponent said that he's doubled down on the politics of division and values rhetoric of results. You know, Ashley, I think this is exactly what the American people and my constituents are so tired of, is they're exhausted of the partisan, divisive rhetoric both, you know, here and in Washington. I'm more known as the rational guy in the room, the adult in the room. I'm the level-headed guy, statesman-like who wants to get things done. I work across the aisle. That's why the Foreign Affairs Committee that I lead with the Chairman Eagle was described as an island of calm in a sea of partisanship. And we do that because we've worked together. And that's the way Washington should work. Unfortunately, doesn't always work that way."
Goudeau: If you are reelected to Congress, what would be your top priority?
McCaul: "I think the top priority is obviously dealing with COVID. The Paycheck Protection Program, we've saved over 200,000 jobs in Texas. I think getting to a treatment and a vaccine is going to be [a] high priority. I was very proud that a local Austin firm, a biologics firm, that I shepherded their treatment through the FDA. It just got FDA approval in phase two clinical trials, and we did a test in the hospital where we had almost 100% efficacy on the patients, some of whom were on ventilators. We're very excited to bring this treatment to Texas and bring it to Texas hospitals where we're spiking in COVID-19.
And I think secondly, Ashley, would be to get this recovery underway and get the economy back on track. We had a very sound economy, one of the best, with the fundamentals all there until this virus hit us from, you know, outside of the United States from Wuhan, China. And now it's been devastating. I think getting through this and getting America back on track economically, but also treatments and vaccines to save lives. And getting the right policies in place.
And I think finally, you know, my China Task Force report will come out Oct. 1, with legislative recommendations. How we can move forward with getting us independent from the supply chain out of the Chinese Communist Party. Sen. Cornyn and I have worked in a bipartisan manner to get the Chips Bill authorized. We're trying to get it funded right now, which would bring manufacturing of advanced semiconductor chips back to the United States where we should have them. Where in the Austin area, we'd create, you know, an enormous amount of jobs. We can manufacture these national security products here in the United States. And companies like Samsung, Intel, Apple would all be huge beneficiaries of this bill. It's a win-win to me. And that's one of the highest priorities that I'm working on right now."
Goudeau: Give our viewers some final thoughts about why they should elect you this November.
McCaul: "I think, again, I think they want a leader who is not about a partisan divide and partisan rhetoric and trying to divide the nation. They're about a leader that's trying to bring Americans together to get results. I have a proven track record of demonstrating that, being one of the most effective members of Congress and the most bipartisan from the State of Texas. I think at the end of the day, all people care about is, 'Are you going to represent the majority of Texas 10, the people of Texas 10, to get good things done for the people of Texas 10?' And Texans and Americans as a whole, they don't want to elect somebody who is going to go up there and be part of an extreme fringe element that all they're going to do is raise up the partisan rhetoric and divide and work across the aisle to get things done."
The deadline to register to vote in the November election is Oct. 5. Early voting in Texas runs from Tuesday, Oct. 13 to Friday, Oct. 30. Election Day is Nov. 3.
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