Hurd Gets first Major Democratic Challenger

Gina Ortiz Jones plans on challenging one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the House

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, received his first major Democratic challenger Wednesday when former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones declared her candidacy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Will Hurd received his first major Democratic challenger for the 2018 race in what will be one of the most contentious House races in the state. 

Gina Ortiz Jones, a former Air Force intelligence officer, announced her candidacy against Hurd on Wednesday, the Texas Tribune reported.

Jones, who is from San Antonio, told the Texas Tribune that she decided to run after watching the first months of Donald Trump’s presidency while working as the director of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

“To me, it was quite clear that I needed to serve my country and my community in a different way,” Jones said.

Jones served in the Air Force from 2003 to 2006 after attending Boston University on an ROTC scholarship.

In 2008, she joined the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency and started working in the Trade Representative’s office in November of last year before leaving in June.

Jones also criticized Hurd’s image as being affable despite his voting record.

“I think the fact you can take a selfie with somebody one day and vote against their interests the next day needs more attention,” Jones said.

Hurd’s campaign manager Justin Hollis dismissed Jones’ entry into the race, saying the congressman is focused on constituent work for his district.

“He delivers for the district while the Democratic challengers only deliver tired talking points,” Hollis said.

Last year, Hurd won re-election by 1.3 percentage points over former Rep. Pete Gallego in a rematch from 2014.

Hurd’s district is the largest in the state and includes parts of or all of 29 counties and includes 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico Border along the Rio Grande River.

It's being targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as it has in the past. The district was one of three Republican-held districts that broke for Hillary Clinton over President Donald Trump in 2016, according to an analysis liberal website the Daily Kos.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Texas’ 23rd District a Tossup.

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