NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — State Sen. Pat Fallon, R-Prosper, says he is considering a primary challenge to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, potentially giving the state’s senior senator his most prominent intraparty opponent yet.

Fallon, a former state representative elected to the Texas Senate last year, told the Texas Tribune he was mulling a run as he headed to a tea party meeting here where he was expected to speak.

Cornyn drew seven primary challengers in 2014, most notably then-U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, and defeated them without a runoff. So far, most attention on the 2020 U.S. Senate race has focused on the Democratic side, where several candidates are vying to take on Cornyn after Beto O’Rourke’s closer-than-expected loss to the estate’s junior senator, Ted Cruz, last year.

Cornyn has nonetheless moved quickly to shore up his right flank for 2020, securing endorsements late last year from Cruz, who declined to back Cornyn in the 2014 primary, as well as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Then, in February, Cornyn got the backing of President Donald Trump.

Hours before the tea party meeting, Cornyn’s campaign released a minute-long ad touting those endorsements plus that of Gov. Greg Abbott.

Fallon could be the third Republican to line up to challenge Cornyn in 2020, following two lower-profile candidates. One is Dallas financial adviser Mark Yancey, and the other is Dwayne Stovall, who finished third in the 2014 primary, behind Stockman, with 11% of the vote. Stovall was running as an independent against Cornyn this cycle until switching to the GOP primary last month.

Fallon won his Texas Senate seat last year, easily defeating fellow Republican Craig Estes of Wichita Falls. Fallon is not up for reelection until 2022 and therefore would not have to give up his current position to take on Cornyn.

Fallon previously served six years in the state House.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Recommended for you