6th House Republican quits Congress in 10 days


Texas Rep. Will Hurd is the only black Republican in the House, and now he's leaving.

Texas Rep. Will Hurd, the lone black Republican in the House of Representatives, announced on Thursday that he would not seek reelection in 2020.

Hurd, a former CIA officer, will "pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security," according to a statement posted on his congressional website.

Hurd faced an uphill battle to keep his seat had he tried. He won in 2018 by less than a thousand votes, and Democrats had targeted his seat as one of their best opportunities to expand their new majority.

Hurd joins fellows Texas Republican Reps. Mike Conaway and Ted Olsen in heading for the hills rather than seeking a return to Capitol Hill.

In fact, Hurd is now the sixth Republican House member to announce retirement in just the last 10 days, and half of those retirements have been from the state of Texas.

"Like we said last week, Republicans across the Lone Star State are terrified of losing their seats in 2020 and Will Hurd just joined the list," Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson Avery Jaffe said in a statement. "Democrats will win this seat and if Will Hurd doesn't believe he can keep his job in a changing Texas, his colleagues must be having second thoughts too."

According to David Nir of Daily Kos Elections, Hurd was one of only three Republicans to win reelection in 2018 in a district Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. Hurd and others running for the exit "signals that GOP incumbents fear they have little chance of regaining the House next year, particularly with Donald Trump wreaking havoc at the top of the ballot," Nir wrote. "In Hurd's case, though, he's actually made it considerably more difficult for Republicans to actually take back the speaker’s gavel."

Hurd's retirement comes as a particular blow to Republicans, whose caucus is 90% white men. And that percentage could increase next year.

Two of the 13 Republican women in the House already announced their retirements, and Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, an Arab American, left the Republican Party in July to become an independent. As an example of GOP struggles to diversify their caucus, the Republican Party elected more new members named "Greg" in 2018 than they elected women to the House.

And now the only black Republican in the entire caucus is refusing to run again in 2020.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.