Will Hurd

In the West, an outsize role for Texas in the 2020 elections
Battles for Senate and numerous House seats will drive interest in Lone Star State

Sen. John Cornyn’s reelection and a handful of House seats where Republicans have retired make Texas one of the key states to watch next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If there’s an abiding lesson from 2016, it’s that national public opinion in the presidential race is not as important as the votes of individual states. Republican Donald Trump won by taking 304 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 227, even as Clinton beat him by 2.9 million votes and 2.1 percentage points nationally.

In 2020, Democrats will be looking to recapture states Trump won that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And many of those states will also be prime battlegrounds in the fight for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take a majority (three if they win the White House and the vice president can break 50-50 ties), while Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to retake the House.

Trump impeachment makes for tricky messaging for Democrats
As public hearings start, Democrats have to cut through complicated issues

House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., speaks to reporters in the Capitol last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats begin the public portion of their push to impeach President Donald Trump this week with what they say is a powerful case that the president used his office for personal political gain — but they face a high-stakes challenge to convey that to a sharply divided public.

The House Intelligence Committee has its first impeachment hearings scheduled for Wednesday and Friday following weeks of closed-door depositions. The witnesses testifying in the open come from the same roster of unknown diplomats and bureaucrats who in their private interviews detailed complex matters of foreign diplomacy that are unfamiliar to most Americans.

Trump has GOP critics in Congress — but many of them aren't sticking around
What happens to these critical voices after they leave?

Florida Rep. Francis Rooney, who’s been critical of Trump, is not running for a third term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

While there has been significant Republican criticism on Capitol Hill of President Donald Trump’s actions toward Syria and the Kurdish people there, overall the GOP has become synonymous with support for Trump.

The few members of Congress who have strongly and consistently criticized the president are not sticking around past 2020, raising questions about what kind of credibility their voices will have with their peers, what platform they’ll have outside of Congress, and how the GOP will function in a post-Trump world.

Democratic polls show competitive House races in Texas
Surveys are early sign of Democratic groups’ willingness to spend in Lone Star State

Democrats are targeting GOP Rep. Michael McCaul in Texas’ 10th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A handful of Republican-held House seats in the Texas suburbs represent fertile ground for competitive races in 2020, according to recent Democratic polling. 

The surveys in six GOP districts, shared first with CQ Roll Call, are a sign that Democratic outside groups are willing to spend resources in the Lone Star State, where party leaders believe they can make gains next year. The polls were commissioned by House Majority Forward, the nonprofit arm of House Majority PAC, a super PAC tied to the chamber’s Democratic leadership.

McCarthy ‘not concerned about any retirement’ except Hurd’s
Minority leader predicts Trump will carry more districts held by Democrats than he did in 2016

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to the media at the U.S. House Republican Member Retreat in Baltimore on Friday. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the only Republican seat that will be open in 2020 due to a member of his conference retiring that he’s worried about losing is Rep. Will Hurd’s in Texas’ 23rd District. 

“That’s a tough seat. Will Hurd is an exceptional person,” the California Republican told reporters Friday morning as House Republicans kicked off the second day of their conference retreat here. 

Retiring lawmakers will face tough market on K Street
‘K Street is not hungering for former members,’ senator-turned-lobbyist Norm Coleman says

In most cases, it’s congressional staff members who K Street really clamors for. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

K Street recruiters are poring over the list of 21, and counting, lawmakers planning to exit Congress, but the lobbying sector may offer a shrinking supply of big-money gigs heading into the 2020 elections. 

As more House members and senators consider making their escape from Capitol Hill, the realities of the K Street economy and the well-worn revolving door will be among their considerations, say insiders at lobbying firms and downtown headhunters.

Rating changes in four House races, but Flores’ seat isn’t one of them
Outlook shifts toward Democrats in Texas and Iowa races, and toward GOP in one California contest

Texas Rep. Bill Flores is not seeking a sixth term in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s not a question of if more House Members will retire; it’s a question of when and where.

On Wednesday, Rep. Bill Flores became the fifth Texas Republican to announce he will not seek reelection or another office in 2020. Of the 13 members retiring in 2020, 11 are Republicans and two are Democrats. And more exits are likely to come, considering that, on average, 23 members have retired each election cycle, going back to the 1970s.

Republican Rep. Bill Flores to retire, continuing exodus from Texas ranks
Flores is fifth House Republican from the Lone Star State to announce his retirement in recent weeks

Rep. Bill Flores is the fifth Texas Republican to announce his retirement in recent weeks. . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Bill Flores has joined the ranks of Texas Republicans announcing they won’t run for reelection in 2020.

The five-term congressman said he initially pledged to serve no more than six terms when he launched his first campaign for Texas’ 17th District.

Rep. Kenny Marchant joins parade of Texas House retirements, opening up competitive Dallas-area seat
Marchant, who won reelection last fall by 3 points, follows Hurd, Conaway and Olson

Texas Rep. Kenny Marchant is reportedly not seeing a ninth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 11:45 a.m. Monday | Rep. Kenny Marchant is the latest Texas Republican to decide to retire rather than seek another term in 2020, opening up a competitive seat in the Dallas area.

“I am looking forward to finishing out my term and then returning to Texas to start a new chapter,” Marchant said in a Monday morning statement that thanked his constituents, staff and family. He said he was going to spend more time with his seven grandchildren and “working cattle on my ranch.”

Will Hurd’s exit highlights a Texas-size challenge for Republicans in 2020
Democrats are going on offense, targeting multiple House seats in the Lone Star State

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, is not running for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Rep. Will Hurd’s decision to retire was a gut punch for Republicans, who consider him one of their strongest incumbents in one of the most competitive districts in the country. His exit means the GOP will have to work even harder to hold on to his seat with Democrats going on offense in the Lone Star State. 

Hurd is the third Texas Republican in a week to announce his retirement, and the second to do so in a contested seat after Rep. Pete Olson, who is relinquishing his Houston-area 22nd District. Rep. K. Michael Conaway is the third retiring lawmaker, although his seat, which extends from the outskirts of Forth Worth to the New Mexico border, is not considered competitive.