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Rep. Will Hurd to step down

Wow. I did not see this coming.

Rep. Will Hurd

The U.S. House’s last black Republican member, Rep. Will Hurd of Helotes, announced Thursday that he is retiring from Congress. President Donald Trump’s racist comments about elected officials weighed heavily on Hurd, who has often spoken out against the rhetoric.

In announcing his resignation on Twitter, he alluded to future plans, but provided no specifics.

“I have made the decision to not seek reelection for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas in order to pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security,” he wrote.

It was unclear as the news broke whether or not state or national Republicans have a back-up plan for a candidate in this district. Several state and national Republican operatives reached out to the Tribune to react to the news. Nearly all of the commentary involved highly explicit language.

It is apparent that this reelection would have been difficult.

Veteran Gina Ortiz Jones nearly defeated Hurd last cycle, and Democrats were emphatic that they would put all of their muscle in helping her capture this district, which has become something of a white whale for the party.

Emphasis mine. I’d feel sorry for those SOBs if they deserved any sympathy, but they don’t. I do however have an idea of why they’re so upset, and it’s because they’re in the same state I am, which is caught off guard. I mean, earlier that same day came this Politico piece about potential Republican retirements, and well, see for yourself:

Among those on the retirement watch list include older members, like Hal Rogers of Kentucky, Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and Don Young of Alaska; moderates, like Fred Upton of Michigan and Greg Walden of Oregon; lawmakers facing tougher races, like Texans Michael McCaul and Kenny Marchant, and Ann Wagner of Missouri; and the two members under indictment, Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York.

History suggests that an uptick in retirements is common for the minority party after a shift in power. More than a dozen House Democrats left Congress after the 2010 tea party wave that swept Republicans back to power — and seven House Republicans have already announced their departures from politics, just seven months into the cycle.

“Unfortunately, I am afraid there may be more coming,” said Sarah Chamberlain, president and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership, which supports centrist Republicans in swing districts.

The pile-up of retirements could complicate the GOP’s path back to the majority after a bruising midterm election. Almost immediately after Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) announced he would not seek reelection last week, election forecasters shifted the race from “lean Republican” to “toss-up.”

Olson, who came to Congress in 2009, would have faced a competitive reelection battle in his district in the Houston suburbs, where he just narrowly fended off a Democratic challenger last year. And Democrats are dumping resources into Texas this cycle, hoping to build on their gains in the midterms.

“Texas is the biggest battleground state. Republicans know it,” said Abhi Rahman, communications director for the Texas Democratic Party. “We wouldn’t be surprised if there were more retirements because Republicans know their 2020 prospects in Texas are doomed.”

I guarantee you, if there had been any whispers of Hurd hitting the exit, it would have been in that story. This was a bolt from the blue, and it had to have left a mark. Good. Also, too, if McCaul and Marchant drop out, the Republicans are really in a world of hurt.

As for Dem opposition in CD23, Gina Ortiz Jones is off to a fast start in fundraising. She has two opponents in the primary so far, though only Rosey Aburabara looks like a serious challenger. I don’t expect anyone else with any heft to get in on the Dem side. I have no idea who might get in on the Republican side, but my best guess would be someone from the Bexar County part of the district.

One more thing:

Because I love you all, I can and will tell you that the others are:

Ted Poe (CD02)
Sam Johnson (CD03)
Jeb Hensarling (CD05)
Joe Barton (CD06)
John Culberson (CD07)
Mike Conaway (CD11)
Rubén Hinojosa (CD15)
Beto O’Rourke (CD16)
Randy Neugebauer (CD19)
Lamar Smith (CD21)
Pete Olson (CD22)
Will Hurd (CD23)
Blake Farenthold (CD27)
Gene Green (CD29)
Pete Sessions (CD32)

As noted later by Svitek, that doesn’t include John Ratcliffe (CD04), who is reported to be Trump’s pick for Director of National Intelligence. Add in McCaul and Marchant and we’d have turned over more than half the delegation in the last three elections. That’s pretty amazing.

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7 Comments

  1. Manny says:

    He saw that he was going to lose next year and did what all cowards do, quit. It is a good thing for Texas when the fascist racists and bigots lose power.

    I expect that next year next will vote for a Democrat for president for the first time since Carter.

    Some Republicans may not be racists, a few may not be bigots, and some may not be fascists, but those are the exception.

  2. Manny says:

    next year Texas will vote for a Democrat

  3. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    At this point that seat looks likely to flip. Hurd was, for a Republican, really moderate. That district voted for Clinton by 4 points and Beto by 5. Unless they can recruit a Republican with both crossover appeal, enough GOP support as a moderate to clear a GOP primary, and enough money to keep up with Ortiz-Jones in the general.

    Statewide, there are other problems for the Texas GOP delegation. As things stand now,

    2) Olsons seat looks like a toss up at best, with Kulkarni vs Trumpian Niels in a district that should vote against Trump. Kulkarni has a head start with money and organization.

    3) McCaul is rich, but his district is changing rapidly, with much of the growth coming in Democratic leaning areas. Regardless of whether the Dems win statewide, they should come within 1 or 2 points of winning it in the Presidential race. This is a toss up.

    4) Kenny Marchant. This is a huge problem for the GOP. Beto won it but Marchant held on, barely, vs an underfunded Dem challenger last time. The district is also rapidly changing. Even if Marchant stays, this is a toss up. If he retires, its a lean Dem seat.

    That makes four seats that are in severe trouble. The problems dont end there though.

    5) Chip Roy has been running as a Louie Goehmert Republican in a lean GOP district that features rapid population growth. Wendy Davis as the Dem nominee is a double edged sword…she is female and can raise money but is really tied heavily to the pro choice movement which could hurt her crossover appeal. But the combination of Trump on the ballot, Roy’s miserable record, heavy demographic change should make this seat competitive.

    6) Dan Crenshaw won as a moderate. He isnt one. His district is also rapidly changing and contains significant populations he has been hostile to. Its still lean GOP, but if Cardnell can get the resources to compete, this could be interesting.

    7) John Carter won by a thin margin in another district that is moving away from the GOP. Carter did manage to survive in the face of being hugely outspent, but we shall see if that can be sustained going forward.

    8) Ron Wrights district was competitive, but this is a likely GOP hold for now. His district is largely suburban but the suburbs in question tend to be more conservative.

    —–

    If McCaul or Marchant drop out, those seats are lean/likely Dem pickups.

    If the Dems win five seats, it will be a tied delegation. They arent likely to do so, but its certainly possible.

    Redistricting for the GOP in 2021 is gonna be real interesting.

  4. Christopher Busby says:

    Ratcliffe is sticking around.

    Great right up Tom in Lazybrook. I by and large agree. I’d add TX-25 and TX-03 as potential races to watch though unlikely to flip next year.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    Off topic, but can we just have a moment of thanks? Trump got ANOTHER hostage released, this time from the racist, socialist Swedes. Welcome back, A$AP Rocky and shame on the Swedes for kidnapping our man for what was clearly self defense.

    Rocky represented well for America…..really tried to deescalate the situation multiple times, tried to get away from the Muslim aggressors, but when his bodyguard was attacked to the point they drew blood, Rocky and crew administered some American style justice.

  6. Manny says:

    We can thank the Russian cheeto for nearly $1,000 more in taxes we are paying because of the tariffs. We can thank the Russian cheeto for letting the world know who racist the United States is. We can the Russian cheeto for letting the world know how ignorant the Republicons are. We can thank the Russian cheeto for more than a trillion dollars more a year in debt. There are many things like above that the Russian cheeto and his racists enablers have done to harm this country, but the release of an American from a democracy because of a possible crime he committed is not one of them.