U.S. Rep. Will Hurd to retire from Congress

Texas Tribune News

U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, speaks to supporters during a get-out-the-vote rally in San Antonio in 2016.
U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, speaks to supporters during a get-out-the-vote rally in San Antonio in 2016.
Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

Note: This is a developing story and will continue to be updated Thursday night.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Will Hurd announced Thursday night his retirement from Congress.

“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 on Twitter.

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.

The 23rd District was the only seat in the current congressional map that was intentionally drawn to be competitive. Since the last redistricting process, other seats have become competitive amid changing demographics and backlash against Republican President Donald Trump.

The Hurd retirement is a massive blow to the morale of Republicans who care about winning back the U.S. House. In his three terms in Congress, he was the model of a vulnerable congressman who defied political gravity and eked out victories each election night. He did this by raising enormous amounts of money for himself and for the House GOP campaign committee; and by crisscrossing the sprawling district that stretches from San Antonio to El Paso.

A source close to the campaign stressed to the Tribune that Hurd is going to continue to be a presence in national politics down the road.

He is the only African American Republican in the U.S. House. Last year, U.S. Rep. Mia Love of Utah lost reelection.

The president’s comments on race have weighed heavily on Hurd, and he’s often spoken out about the rhetoric. A source close to the campaign said the tone weighed on his decision, among many other factors.