Meet the challengers vying for US Senator John Cornyn’s seat this election


HOUSTON – Fifteen challengers are vying for U.S. Senator John Cornyn’s seat in the 2020 elections. See the list of candidates on the ballot for the March 3 primary.

Republican Candidates

Sen. John Cornyn (Incumbent)


Incumbent Sen. John Cornyn was born in Houston and raised in San Antonio. He graduated from Trinity University with a degree in journalism after starting as a biology major. Later he earned a Master’s of Law degree from the University of Virginia. Serving as a Texas Supreme Court Justice for two terms, he ran for Attorney General then moved on to be elected to the United States Senate in 2002, 2008, and 2014.

Cornyn’s top issues include maximizing energy resources, healthcare, and crime. He is also a defender of the second amendment.

Virgil Bierschwale


Virgil Bierschwale was born in Fredricksburg, Texas, serving the Navy from 1976 to 1982. He attended several colleges including Schreiner University where he earned a GED. He is a software developer who founded the website KeepAmericaAtWork.com that focused on putting Americans to work.

One of Bierschwale’s biggest issues is the importation of American jobs overseas. He uncovered that American workers were being sold to other countries and non-immigrant workers moved to the U.S. to work.

John Anthony Castro


Born into a working-class military family in Germany, he moved to Laredo, Texas where his father pursued a career with the U.S. Border Patrol. He launched several campaigns locally to challenge corrupt politicians and has been arrested unlawfully on multiple occasions. He published his first book, My Plan for Laredo, where he breaks down what he thinks would Laredo be if their people believed in the city to solve real-world problems. Castro went to Texas A&M International University and earned his law degree at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC.

Castro’s issues include healthcare for all, education, and a tax-free retirement for senior citizens.

Dwayne Stovall


A sixth-generation Texan, Dwayne Stovall stands by the constitution the way it was written and amended. He worked in oilfields for most of his life, and later started his own business in Liberty County, specializing in bridge construction for all of Texas. He believes that the founding principle of liberty resonates with everyone, regardless of party affiliation or cultural difference.

Stovall is against Obamacare and stands by the second amendment. Border security is one of his top priorities if he is elected.

Mark Yancey


A veteran of the financial services industry, Mark Yancey helped build several successful management firms, creating hundreds of jobs. He is currently the CEO of Attacca International, a merger firm based in Dallas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Oklahoma and took executive courses at Harvard University. One of Yancey’s goals is to lift up younger generations who aspire to become entrepreneurs.

Yancey is a huge supporter of education who plans to work with other parties to come up with solutions. He also plans to focus on the federal budget and immigration.

Democratic Candidates

Chris Bell


Chris Bell is a former U.S. Congressman who also served as one of Houston’s City Councilmembers. He also ran for Governor of Texas in 2006. As he runs for Senate this year, he knows that he will face division and the challenges in America, with a goal to “unite rather than divide.” Chris is a strong believer in free community college tuition and plans to implement an income-based student loan forgiveness plan to alleviate the burden of student loan debt.

Aside from that, he also plans to tackle reproductive health care, immigration, social justice reform, and gun reform.

Michael Cooper


An educator working on his doctorate degree, Michael Cooper was a pastor, and was president of the Southeast Texas Toyota Dealers. He earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies and business from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. He vows to bring pay raises to Texas teachers as his first thing on his to-do list as U.S. Senator, taking the money out of military spending.

His top issues include criminal justice reform, health care, and universal background checks on guns.

Amanda Edwards


Amanda Edwards is an attorney and community leader who previously served as a Houston City Councilmember back in 2015. Her goal is to become Texas’s first-ever African American U.S. Senator in history. During Hurricane Harvey in 2017, she organized hundreds of volunteers to provide ongoing relief efforts for the most vulnerable in Houston.

As healthcare is one of her priorities, she plans to work tirelessly to provide access to healthcare for all citizens.

Jack Daniel Foster Jr.


Jack Daniel Foster Jr. earned his Master’s in Finance and Healthcare Administration from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. He also was self-taught in courses from the Financial Planning Department at Texas Tech University. Foster came up with an economic model that places established citizens, homeowners and property owners to have security in risk-free investment in the country.

Foster would like to focus on abortion, immigration, and healthcare as a U.S. Senator.

Annie “Mama” Garcia


Annie Garcia attended Rice University and the University of Texas Law School in Austin, fighting for progressive causes since she was able to vote. She lived in Spain for a few years where she got married and had two children. When she returned to the U.S., she started a non-profit to support families with children who had to go through life-threatening illnesses, like one of her children.

Several issues Garcia is facing is civil and criminal justice overhaul, legalization of marijuana in the U.S. and fixing budget spending in the U.S.

Victor Hugo Harris


Taking 34 years of military leadership into consideration, Victor Hugo Harris stands by immigration reform and climate change. Born in the U.S. and raised in Mexico, he knew the struggle of transitioning from different cultures. He feels that the next generation should have a voice to move forward to the future.

Immigration is one of his top issues, as he is willing to compromise with every type of issue relating to immigration to other parties of the hallway.

Mary Jennings ‘MJ’ Hegar


Mary Jennings Hegar served three tours in Afghanistan as a military pilot, defying orders that “the front is no place for a woman.” She graduated top of her class at her pilot training program after attending the University of Texas at Austin. After being honorably discharged due to injuries, she earned a Purple Heart for her bravery, becoming one of the few women to receive the award. She wants to change the rules that the military brought on that barred her from competing for a ground combat position.

She is an advocate for reproductive health rights, immigration, military and veterans, and the economy.

Sema Hernandez


A daughter of immigrants, Sema Hernandez worked in healthcare and insurance and saw flaws in the system. She ran for Congress in 2018 on a budget of $4,000 and she ended up with 24% of the vote. She has also helped with Rep. Beto O’ Rourke’s U.S. Senate campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz and became a co-chair of the Texas Poor People’s Campaign, fighting to end systematic racism and poverty.

Hernandez is a supporter of labor rights and the minimum wage raise to $15 per hour. She also supports Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal.

D.R. Hunter


No information is available.

Adrian Ocegueda


Adrian Ocegueda is a businessman who attended Princeton University. He then realized that education is limited in access to certain socioeconomic classes and communities in color. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy with a minor in African American studies. He became involved in local government in the city of El Paso, serving several positions in the city. Later, he went to earn his master’s in business administration from Southern Methodist University in order to strengthen his principles of business.

As education is his strongest issue, he also wants to focus on labor rights.

Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez


Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez was raised in a farm-working family in southern Mexico, and her father is an entrepreneur from Ohio. Graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, she advocated for Hispanics to vote during the 2016 presidential election, leading campaigns to protect immigrant students and families and making college affordable.

Tzintzun Ramirez wants all Texans to have access to high-quality healthcare, creating millions of jobs in the healthcare field.

Royce West


Royce West is currently a member of the Texas State Senate representing District 23. A graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Houston, he gained an understanding of the importance of education. He fought to provide additional funding to public colleges and universities to ensure that higher education is affordable to all citizens. He also fought for inclusiveness of women and all racial minorities.

Healthcare, higher education and women’s right are some of West’s top issues.