Alec Baldwin portrays President Trump on SNL. We’ve all seen him do it. His latest role is that of a political consultant for the campaign of a Democrat challenger in Senator Cornyn’s bid for re-election. Because there is nothing Texans like better than an actor from New York telling them who they should vote for in an election, amirite?
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez is running in the Texas Democrat primary. The Texas Tribune is running a series of stories on all of Senator John Cornyn’s challengers on the Democrat side – all twelve of them. Tzintzun Ramirez entered the race with the encouragement of Baldwin, who is acting as a mentor, as it turns out. He convinced her to run against Cornyn though she was hesitating about the timing in her personal life as she has a young son. She called Baldwin and he told her she had to do it. “She’s one of a handful of people I’ve repeatedly told, ‘You’ve got to run. You have no choice,’” Baldwin told The Texas Tribune in a phone interview.” Between Baldwin and some former staffers of Beto O’Rourke, along with other Democrat operatives, she decided to run.
Cornyn is running for his fourth term in the U.S. Senate. Tzintzun Ramirez is a newcomer. She began as a grassroots organizer and went on to co-found the Workers Defense Project, an Austin-based initiative that serves the immigrant worker community. She became the organization’s executive director and went on from there to Jolt, a nonprofit that works to increase the civic participation of Latinos in Texas. She is 38 years old. She and her supporters are counting on Baldwin’s star power and resources to push her into the winner’s circle on primary election day.
Baldwin, 61, has been urging her to run for office — perhaps governor or U.S. Senate — since the two first met in 2013, she said. A New York Times article at the time spotlighted her work as then-executive director of the Workers Defense Project, an Austin-based group that fights for labor laws with the help of businesses, unions, churches and student activists. The piece impressed Baldwin, who called to say he wanted to meet her.
Tzintzún Ramirez was floored when the movie star first reached out. “Literally when I met him, my mom said, ‘Oh, señor Alec, he’s going to be someone very important in your life,” she raved.
The two hit it off, and he later invited her to be a guest on his short-lived MSNBC show. Since then, she’s visited him in New York and introduced him to her son.
Here is the future of Texas!
— HABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) December 29, 2019
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is supporting Mary Jennings (MJ) Hegar. Hegar has her own support from entertainment elites. Senator Cornyn calls her “Hollywood Hegar” for her support from Patton Oswalt, Lin-Manuel Miranda and actress Alyssa Milano. Though none of the Democrats running against Cornyn pose a real challenge, Hegar is probably the strongest of the pack. She previously ran against U.S. Rep. John Carter in 2018 and lost by 2.9 percentage points. She is a decorated Air Force veteran, having served three tours in Afghanistan and earned a Purple Heart. She also sued the Air Force to remove the Combat Exclusion Policy.
Tzintzun Ramirez is more in line with the far-left and Robert Francis O’Rouke, which is why his former staffers encouraged her to run. Baldwin is optimistic for his friend, though.
“Texas has certainly become more racially diversified, and if you get all those people to the polls, she has a real chance to win,” Baldwin said. “I think she’ll win the primary.”
Baldwin has said he will support the Democratic nominee against Cornyn — he’s even offering to host events for that candidate in Texas, if he or she wants — regardless of who wins.
Most Texas voters don’t much care about celebrity endorsements. Often they backfire. It’s fine by me if Baldwin wants to test that opinion, though. I’m sure Senator Cornyn can have fun with that in some political ads. Trump will carry Texas on Election Day in November and the New Yorker who is a leader in The Resistance against him likely won’t play very well with most voters.
Cornyn does have some Republican challengers on the ballot but none are serious contenders. Early voting begins February 18, with the primary on March 3, Super Tuesday.