GOP Rep. Will Hurd is retiring, leaving Texas seat within Democrats' reach

Republican Rep. Will Hurd, who nearly lost his Texas seat to a Democratic challenger last year, announced Thursday that he won’t seek reelection in 2020.

Hurd, who’s served in the House since 2015, said he wants to focus on addressing issues like relations with China, poverty in Central America and the rise of artificial intelligence from the private sector.

“After reflecting on how best to help our country address these challenges, 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 said.

Hurd’s departure leaves the House without a single black Republican. 

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House representatives who aren't running for re-election in 2020
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House representatives who aren't running for re-election in 2020

Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas

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Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas

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Rep. Jose Serrano, D-New York

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Rep. Martha Roby, R-Alabama

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Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Georgia

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Rep. David Loebsack, D-Iowa

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Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah

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Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas

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Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indiana

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Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Michigan

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FILE - In this May 17, 2013 file photo, Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Two Republican officials say eight-term Texas Rep. Kenny Marchant will announce his retirement. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., leaves a closed-door GOP meeting on immigration, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., later gave an upbeat assessment to reporters after brokering a deal between party factions on a process to consider rival GOP immigration plans to protect young "Dreamer" immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, attends the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change hearing titled "Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks, in Rayburn Building on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 13: Congresswoman Susan Davis (D- 53) rides in the 2019 San Diego Pride Parade on July 13, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) during a hearing on Capitol Hill on February 27, 2014, in Washington, Tribune News Service via Getty Images. (Astrid Riecken/MCT/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Congressman Roger Marshall (R-KS) speaking to his constituents from the 1st district at the annual GOP convention in Topeka, Kansas, February 16, 2019. (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
FILE - In this March 15, 2012 file photo, then-Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, speaks at a Capitol news conference in Sacramento, Calif. Cook now the incumbent 8th District Congressman with several challengers from both parties in the California Primary on June 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
FILE - In this July 18, 2018, file photo, Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisc., asks a question of Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell during a House Committee on Financial Services hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Duffy, who represents northern Wisconsin in Congress, is resigning in September 2019. Duffy posted on his Facebook page Monday that he was resigning on Sept. 23 to spend more time with his family. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
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Hurd narrowly won his seat last year in a face-off against Democratic challenger Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force veteran and career civil servant in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District. Jones ― who would have made history as the first lesbian, the first Iraq War veteran and the first Filipina American to hold a U.S. House seat in Texas ― announced in May that she’s running for the seat again.

Democrats have high hopes of flipping the district. It was on the party’s “Red to Blue” list of high-priority districts during the 2018 election, when Jones lost by just 926 votes.

Hurd’s announcement comes a week after Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) announced that he, too, would not seek reelection next year. He also narrowly won his race in Texas’ 22nd District against Democratic opponent Sri Preston Kulkarni, a former diplomat who’s also already announced his 2020 campaign. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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