Royce West made it official this morning. The state senator from Dallas will run for Congress against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in 2020.
His work is cut out for him. A win would make West the first Democrat from Texas to win a seat in the U.S. Senate since Lloyd Bentsen in 1988. His opening comes after Beto O’Rourke’s campaign against Ted Cruz fell just a couple of percentage points short, vastly closing the gap in a state that hadn’t really seen a close race—the chart here shows it well—for decades.
West, 66, has been a member of the Texas Senate for 16 years. He announced on Monday morning, flanked by his family, former mayor Ron Kirk, and U.S. Representative from Dallas Eddie Bernice Johnson. Via his press announcement:
“Texans believe that the best way to get things done is to roll up their sleeves, use some grit and determination, and work with everyone to accomplish big things,” West said. “I have spent my life as an advocate for parents and teachers to achieve world-class education for students, championing criminal justice reform, supporting workers seeking fair wages, and advocating for common-sense gun legislation. I promote and defend women’s reproductive rights, stand with immigrant rights communities for comprehensive immigration reform, and march with students seeking fair voting rights. We need a United States Senator who will do those things, and I hope to earn your vote.”
Meanwhile, a PAC affiliated with the man he hopes to defeat launched a site that decries West as “A politician with an ultra-liberal record”: roycewestfacts.com paints the candidate as an abortion-loving opponent of the Second Amendment who’s cozy with Chuck Schumer.
In the Democratic primary, West joins a field so far comprised of former Houston Congressman Chris Bell, 2018 U.S. House candidate MJ Hegar, and Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards.