AUSTIN, Texas -- The campaign video released by U.S. Senate candidate Maxey Scherr delivers a road map of Democrats' grievances against freshman Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
"Ted Cruz is the epitome of everything that's wrong with Washington, and John Cornyn is along for the ride. He's on autopilot voting the way Ted Cruz wants him to," Scherr says in the three-minute ad featuring a car covered in stickers bearing the slogan "Texas on Cruz Control."
Challenging Cruz's colleague Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) in 2014, Scherr includes middle class families, single parents and children born into poverty as those aggrieved by the policies of both. In the video, the car slams into a tree as Scherr claims, "If Texas stays on Cruz control, we're headed for a wreck."
Touring the state with an actual wrecked car in tow, Scherr stopped outside the Texas Capitol Monday to meet with media and greet roughly a dozen supporters who braved the chilly rain to shake hands and take pictures with Scherr. Stumping on the sidewalk, the 33-year-old plaintiff's lawyer from El Paso accused Cruz and Cornyn of violating Texans' human rights.
"They vote against women all of the time," Scherr told supporters. "They vote against children. They vote against education. They vote against immigration, and they are driving us over a cliff into a head-on collision."
"I've got Latino roots, Middle Eastern roots, Jewish roots, and I'm from a border town," said Scherr.
Speaking with KVUE inside her campaign RV, Scherr described herself as a fourth-generation Texan and single mother who put herself through law school at Texas Tech University.
Despite participating in several political campaigns, including that of former Houston mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White, Scherr has never run for office before. Scherr says her decision to mount her first run for office in the race for U.S. Senate came from a deep dissatisfaction with the two senators.
"Our senior Senator John Cornyn is being put on the passenger seat next to Ted Cruz, who is the junior senator that's calling on the shots and taking the lead here," said Scherr.
While state Republicans have long campaigned against President Obama, Cruz has quickly become a favorite foil for Texas Democrats. Yet the government shutdown this fall has also seemingly cooled relations between Texas' two senators.
Cornyn disagreed with the ultimately unsuccessful strategy championed by Cruz and a handful of Tea Party conservatives to defund the Affordable Care Act through a critical budget measure. The tactic resulted in a government shutdown, with polls showing Republicans receiving the majority of the blame.
Citing a desire to avoid incumbent races, Cruz declined to endorse Cornyn's re-election. Launching his 2014 campaign in November, Cornyn maintained his opposition to Cruz's strategy while at the same time brushing aside suggestions their relationship had become acrimonious.
"We had a minor disagreement over tactics, but that happens," Cornyn told reporters. "I wouldn't make too much of that, I think we're all on the same page."
Responding to a similar "Cruz Control" claim made by the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee the same day, Cornyn laughed off the attack.
"I don't even know what that means," said Cornyn. "You know it's really interesting. There seems to be a schizophrenia here. On one hand I'm not enough in one direction and then I'm too much in another direction. I don't pay that much attention to it. I just try to do the best I can, and I think I'm a pretty good fit for Texas."
"Sen. Cornyn looks forward to discussing his record defending middle class Texans, who deserve better than the skyrocketing healthcare premiums, runaway spending, and massive government expansion from this president and his liberal allies in Congress," Cornyn's campaign manager Brendan Steinhauser told KVUE in a statement Monday.
Cornyn is one of the state's most well known Republicans and an astute fundraiser. According to the most recent campaign finance report, the senator's reelection campaign had nearly $7 million on hand in September. Scherr has set a fundraising target of between $7 million and $10 million to be viable, and believes she can raise that sum through a combination of grassroots and large money donors.
"I will have a professional, aggressive campaign that can raise a whole lot of money like we probably haven't seen in a long time for a Democratic senatorial candidate," said Scherr, adding motivated voters will be equally important.
Like other Democrats who hope to share the November ballot with state Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) in 2014, Scherr believes the gubernatorial candidate will greatly increase voter participation.
"Texas is not a red state. We're a non-voting state," said Scherr. "We have 26 million people and only five million vote. We have some of the worst voter turnout in the entire country, and I think that's because people have felt that their voices don't matter."
"I can beat John Cornyn," said Scherr. "If I don't win, then I have at least started a message that needs to be had within the state of Texas that our voices count. That our votes matter and that the power of the people is the most important thing, not the power of dollars up in Washington."