State Sen. Royce West to run for John Cornyn's U.S. Senate seat

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State Sen. Royce West joined an increasingly crowded Democratic field for a U.S. Senate seat on Monday.

The longtime Dallas politician made the announcement Monday morning before a packed room of supporters at the Dallas County Democratic Party headquarters.

“I’m battled tested,” West said. “You’ve seen me in battle and I’m ready today to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate.”

West talked about his passion for equal education for students of all races, as well as affordable health care. But those are just some of the issues West said are pressing.

West believes the country is more divided than he’s ever seen it and that President Donald Trump is “weaponizing race” and tearing the country apart.

“When you begin to think about this country and how it’s divided, you’ve got to have people that are willing to step up and step out from behind leadership that’s failed to leadership in this country. And the fact of the matter is I’m that person to do that,” he said.

West had already filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission declaring himself a Democratic candidate for the seat.

He will be taking on several other Democrats for the nomination, including: former Houston congressman Chris Bell who had a failed 2006 bid for governor against Rick Perry, military veteran M.J. Hegar who had an unsuccessful bid for Congress and former Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards.

West thinks it could take as much as $5 million to win the primary.

“We've got to go through the primary process, which is healthy for the Democratic Party, and then once we emerge from that -- then the general election,” West said.

The winner will face incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn, whose campaign has reportedly already raised more than $9 million.

Cornyn released an online attack ad against West on Monday as the Democrat was making his intention to run for the U.S. Senate seat official, something Cornyn has not done with the other announced candidates. The ad focuses on West’s voting record as a state senator and links him to prominent democrats in Congress and those who want to be president.

The bid comes after the mid-term elections that saw Beto O’Rourke almost upset incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Cornyn may be more liked statewide than Cruz, but West feels the timing is right for the challenge.

“What we're about to do is reclaim Lyndon Baines Johnson’s seat for a Democrat,” West said.