MJ Hegar does not hold back. "I'm an ass kicking, motorcycle-riding, Texas Democrat. That's who I am!"
She says that emphatically, unblinkingly and unapologetically to a constituent at a political meet-and-greet in a suburban Austin, Texas, home. And she is talking to someone she needs to win over.
"I'm a Republican," the woman says to Hegar. "I'd like to know, in a county that is predominantly Republican, what makes you different from our current congressman?"
That question hits on the central challenge facing Hegar who, in order to defeat incumbent Republican Rep. John Carter in November, will have to win over GOP-leaning voters. Hegar's response -- "I'm an American. I'm a veteran. I'm fighting for this country." -- is how she hopes to do it.
Hegar served in the US Air Force and is one of many veterans running as Democrats in the 2018 midterms. She's part of a broader strategy Democrats have used to reach disillusioned moderates. And these days, in this year of record numbers of female candidates running for Congress, many of them are battle-tested women.
Click here to read the full article published by CNN on 9 August 2018.