Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, a former labor organizer who had the endorsement of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), failed to qualify for a runoff election for the Democratic Senate nomination in Texas.
Tzintzún Ramirez’s miss is a blow to progressives, who hoped she would be a rare bright spot in their efforts to build influence in the U.S. Senate.
The runoff will instead pit former Air Force helicopter pilot and congressional candidate MJ Hegar against Royce West. Hegar has the backing of Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, while West is a longtime Black state senator from Dallas who has the backing of many Texas state legislators. The winner will face GOP Sen. John Cornyn in November.
“In order to achieve progress on health care, climate change, immigration, or gun violence, we need to defeat Senator Cornyn and get more regular people like me representing us in Washington – a working mom who has served our country and has faced the same challenges that working families across Texas are facing,” Hegar said in a statement.
Tzintzún Ramirez conceded the race with 99% percent of precincts reporting. Hegar had 21.8% of the vote to West’s 13.9% and Ramirez’s 12.3%. When no candidate wins a majority of the vote, the top two candidates go to a runoff.
“This campaign was consistently underestimated,” Tzintzún Ramirez said in a statement. “I ran as a progressive, as a Latina, and as a working mom. We ran this campaign unapologetically, and we all have so much to be proud of for what we’ve accomplished.”
Both Hegar and Tzintzún Ramirez received significant outside support from super PACs in the final weeks of the race. Hegar has been the race’s top fundraiser, bringing in nearly $4 million, while West has raised $1.1 million. Republicans are confident Cornyn, who has nearly $12 million on hand, will beat either Democratic candidate.
The runoff is scheduled for May 26.
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