COVID-19’s impact on Texas’ U.S. Senate primary runoff

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"The virus has hurt everyone in this campaign. because people are preoccupied with that."

ODESSA, Texas (KMID) – One crucial way the coronavirus is impacting Americans is through our elections process. While November seems far away, runoff elections are just around the corner.

For democratic candidates, Senator Royce West and MJ Hegar, the next couple of months should be packed with door to door campaigning. Coming out of Super Tuesday, the two were scheduled to go head-to-head during the May runoff. The democratic nominee will go against U.S. Senator John Cornyn in November for his seat.

“The virus has hurt everyone in this campaign. because people are preoccupied with that,” said Senator Royce West.

West says his campaign has taken a back seat. As the fear and uncertainty of the pandemic rises, so does his current responsibility as a Texas senator.

“We had an uptake in support right after the election, in terms of fundraising, and then this COVID-19 hit and we saw it plummet. Yes I still have to campaign, but I have to make sure I do my job as a state senator  first,” stated West.

Governor Greg Abbott signed an order in March to postpone the May runoffs until July. Early voting will begin July 6th, and elections will now be held on July 14th.

“The public health issue will impact the turn out in July,” explained West, “but we’re working feverishly to make certain that we get our message out.”

West and his opponent, MJ Hegar, agree with the Governor and say it was the right decision to make. Both have since utilized technology and made their campaigns 100% virtual.

Hegar shared this statement with YourBasin:

“Texans don’t want us to stop doing the work it takes to earn their votes. They want us to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to the challenges we’re all facing.  No Texan should have to choose between exercising their constitutional right to vote or putting public health in danger. In order to ensure that, I am calling on the Governor and state officials. work with nonpartisan groups to expand access to vote by mail, extend early vote, and enact no-excuse absentee voting.” 

Ector County Elections Administrator, Lisa Sertuche, says the county is waiting for further instructions from the state on how to process the ballots come July. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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