It appears that Democratic congressional candidate MJ Hegar’s investment in a compelling biographical campaign video that went viral has paid off.
Hegar’s long-shot campaign announced Monday that it raised $1.1 million in the second quarter of 2018 — including $750,000 in the 10 days after releasing her video, “Doors,” which recounts her time as an Air Force pilot, her role in the successful effort to end the ban on women serving in ground combat jobs, and her decision to challenge U.S. Rep. John Carter, a Republican seeking his ninth term.
Both candidates live in Round Rock.
Hegar is one of three female Democratic congressional challengers in Texas to report raising more than $1 million in the past three months.
Gina Ortiz Jones of San Antonio, running in the 23rd Congressional District, announced that she raised more than $1.2 million during the same period. But that district, held by Will Hurd, R- Helotes, is a swing district and Hegar’s is not.
Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, a Houston lawyer and the Democratic candidate for Texas’ 7th Congressional District, now held by John Culberson, R-Houston, has announced that she raised more than $1 million in the second quarter of 2018, entering July with nearly $800,000 cash on hand. That district, like Hurd’s, has been targeted by national Democrats, who are now keenly interested in Hegar’s race as well.
While Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Donald Trump in the Hurd and Culberson districts, Trump carried Carter’s district by 12.5 percentage points.
Carter, Hurd and Culberson have not yet announced second-quarter fundraising totals.
Like U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Hegar is not accepting political action committee money.
“The thousands of people who are supporting our campaign show that it is time to show the door to politicians who care more about campaign donors and political parties than protecting our country,” Hegar said in a news release. “I look forward to building on our success this quarter and continuing to run a campaign powered by people and not corporate PACs.”
The headline on the news release, which announced the campaign’s fundraising total a week before it is due to the Federal Election Commission, identified her as “Badass Democratic Candidate MJ Hegar.”
An Air National Guard pilot, Hegar was shot down in 2009 while on a medevac mission during her third tour in Afghanistan. Wounded, she helped save the lives of the crew, earning a Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor.
Hegar, whose full name is Mary Jennings Hegar, is the author of “Shoot Like Girl: One Woman’s Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Homefront.”
Her 3-minute, 28-second campaign video has won widespread praise, with Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Broadway’s “Hamilton,” tweeting, “MJ, you made the best political ad anyone’s ever seen.”