San Antonio Rep. Will Hurd, the House’s sole black Republican, shook the political landscape in both Texas and D.C. late Thursday by announcing that he will not seek reelection next year in his sprawling border district.
Hurd, a former CIA agent, said he wanted to “pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security.”
“I want to use my knowledge and experience to focus on these generational challenges in new ways,” he said in a news release. “It was never my intention to stay in Congress forever, but I will stay involved in politics to grow a Republican Party that looks like America.”
The surprise exit of Hurd, a sometimes critic of President Donald Trump, carries deep political consequence.
Hurd is the third Texas Republican in the last week to announce his retirement at the end of this term. He followed Rep. Pete Olson of Sugar Land and Rep. Mike Conaway of Midland, only furthering the monumental turnover seen in recent years in the Texas congressional delegation.
But Hurd’s announcement stands out, given that he represents the only true swing district in Texas.
He won reelection last year against Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones by less than 1,000 votes. She’s running again this time around, and both Republicans and Democrats are expected to battle hard for a district that’s more than 70% Hispanic and shares 820 miles of border with Mexico.
Just ask the Texas Democratic Party.
“The simple facts are that hypocrite Trump Republican Will Hurd did not stand a chance in the 23rd congressional district,” Manny Garcia, the party’s executive director, said in a news release, adding that “Texas is the biggest battleground state.”
Or do the same with the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s campaign arm.
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SOURCE: Dallas Morning News, Tom Benning and James Barragán