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With 93.3% of votes counted, Decision Desk HQ declared a victory for U.S. Sen. Job Cornyn, who was reelected to his fourth term after beating his Democratic challenger MJ Hegar by 10 percentage points.
During the campaign period, Cornyn ran on his record. On his website, he emphasized his role in passing legislation to address human trafficking and the high cost of prescription drugs.
The incumbent also criticized his opponent, painting her as a recipient of "dark money" from the super PACs such as Senate Majority, Future Forward and EMILY's List, and accusing her of conspiring with Kamala Harris, the Democratic Party's vice presidential nominee, to "California-Our-Texas."
Hegar, a decorated combat veteran, Round Rock mom and self-described "badass," hasn't held public office. She narrowly won the Democratic nomination for the Texas Senate seat in a runoff election against state Sen. Royce West in July.
"I'm not a career politician, running for U.S. Senate was never my plan," Hegar said in a statement. "I am confident that the work we did will move our state forward for years to come."
Her campaign stressed her experience working as a program manager for Seton Healthcare Family, as well as her support for the Affordable Care Act, as proof of her ability to lead Texas out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recession it has created.
This stands in sharp contrast to Cornyn, who has long opposed the ACA and recently voted to confirm President Trump's latest Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, whom many Democrats fear will further endanger the legislation.
Hegar also focused on Cornyn's low profile among voters. Although he acknowledged this dynamic, he maintained a five- to 10-point lead over Hegar in polls, according to a round-up compiled by the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.
Despite Cornyn's lead in the polls, Democrats believed that the race was winnable for many reasons: high turnout among Democratic voters in the July runoff election, Trump's flagging approval rating and a flood of donations from around the country.
Turnout, of course, did break records. More than 9.7 million Texas voters cast their ballots early this election, compared to fewer than 9 million in the entire 2016 race.
Cornyn, who has been publicly supportive of the president, did appear to distance himself last month, when he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial board that when he disagrees with Trump he does so privately.
A handful of other Republican senators facing closer-than-expected reelection races have done the same, according to multiple reports.
"The president has had, in strictly political terms, a not particular good year and is an erratic standard bearer," Jim Henson, a professor of government and director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, told Austonia in August. "So if you are a Republican candidate in Texas, and your fate is hitched to the president's, it's a very anxiety-ridden ride."
Opposition to the president was not great enough to hand Hegar a victory—or flip Texas.
Samantha Cotten, the regional communications director for the Republican National Committee, expected as much.
"Beto O'Rourke lost in 2018, MJ Hegar will lose in 2020," she said in a statement to Austonia in August. "Democrats' dream of turning Texas blue will be shattered once again and it is little wonder as to why considering Democrats are actively campaigning on destroying the Second Amendment, the energy industry, and our cities by defunding police."
This story was updated at 5:30 a.m. with the final percentage of votes counted, as well as how many percentage points Cornyn led the race by.
Police have arrested one of two suspects involved in a mass shooting at Austin's Sixth Street in the early morning hours on Saturday, leaving 14 people injured and two in critical condition.
The arrest was made by the Austin Police Department and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force. One suspect is still at large.
Police started receiving 911 phone calls at 1:24 a.m about a man that fired shots into a large crowd, and responded to a chaotic scene on the 400 block of East Sixth Street. Detectives are surveying video footage captured by bystanders and cameras on the scene to identify the suspect.
The Austin Police Department has narrowed down their search to two male suspects and believes there was "some type of disturbance" between the two parties.
No deaths have been reported. Fourteen victims are receiving treatment in a hospital in stable condition with one treated in an emergency room; two are in critical condition.
According to Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon, "almost all" of the victims are innocent bystanders but police have not ruled anyone out at this time.
Shooting on 6th Street Austin Texas 6-12-2021 (Aftermath) youtu.be
The shooting occurred on the weekend of the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally. With lots of people downtown, police say it was difficult to get EMS in and out of the scene. Police arrived while the scene was still an "active threat," officers "immediately began lifesaving measures" and drove six victims to the hospital in their squad cars, said Chacon, and four were transported in ambulances.
Chacon said that the incident is believed to be isolated, and they optimistic they will be successful in getting the two suspects into custody. Multiple departments, including APD, the FBI, Texas DPS and the ATF, are involved in the investigation.
Austin police are also requesting state troopers for patrol assistance in the coming days. Chacon stressed staffing issues are increasingly making responding to emergency calls "very hard."
"Overall, we remain a safe city," Chacon said. "Also keep in mind when you come downtown, you need to be safety conscious. Be vigilant of your environment and your surroundings."
Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in Orlando, Florida. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call 911 or 512-472-TIPS.
This story was updated at 2:47 p.m. to include new information and will be updated as more details are revealed.
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Austin police are investigating a homicide in North Austin where a woman was shot and killed, just hours after a mass shooting in Downtown Austin hospitalized 14 people.
APD is working a suspicious death near the 1900 block of W Rundberg Ln. PIO is en route and will update with media staging location. PIO6
— Austin Police Department (@Austin_Police) June 12, 2021
Police originally responded to Ironhorse Flats Apartments, 1900 block of W. Rundberg Lane, at 3:20 p.m. when they found the woman with multiple gunshot wounds. She was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 4:07 p.m.
No one is in custody as of yet but police are speaking with potential witnesses. Officials said they believe this was an isolated incident with no danger to the public but said possible relation to the downtown shooting has not been specifically ruled out.
Officers could not provide a suspect description and the relationship to the victim is still unknown.
This is a developing story that will be updated as details become available.
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