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.

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.