Politics

GOP’s Will Hurd Re-Elected in Texas’ 23rd District

Democratic challenger and former Rep. Pete Gallego concedes

Texas Rep. Will Hurd was re-elected to a second term in the state’s 23rd District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Will Hurd has won a hard-fought rematch battle against Democrat Pete Gallego in Texas’ 23rd District, The Associated Press projects. 

Hurd led Gallego 48 percent to 47 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting. 

Gallego, who represented the seat for a single term before Hurd, conceded to his opponent before the race was officially called by the AP. 

[Election Results 2016]

The race had long been rated a Tossup by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call. In a district that is 70 percent Hispanic, the contest was the Lone Star State’s only competitive one. 

Texas had also been listed by some experts as competitive for the two major presidential candidates, with the tight 23rd District race seen as an indicator of how the state might vote at the top of the ticket. In the end, Republican nominee Donald Trump managed to score a comfortable victory. 

Texas’ 23rd District, the largest in the state, encompasses all or part of 29 counties, stretching from the outskirts of El Paso toward western San Antonio. Along the way, it takes in more than 700 miles of the Mexico border along the Rio Grande.

[Will Hurd Cashes in on CIA Skills]

Hurd stands out from the crowd of House Republicans: He’s the only member of Congress with a CIA background and the first alumnus of the spy agency in Congress since Connecticut Republican Rob Simmons served in the House from 2001 to 2007.

He is also one of only two African-American Republicans in the House; Utah’s Mia Love, who, like Hurd, was first elected in 2014, is the other.

Hurd’s spy agency experience, which included assignments in Pakistan and Afghanistan, gives him prominence as Congress tries to devise strategies to defeat jihadis proclaiming allegiance to Islamic State. Hurd’s private sector cybersecurity work has prepared him for policymaking on foiling hackers seeking to exploit gaps in cyber defenses.

“I didn’t realize how big a deal the stuff we were going to be doing on privacy was going to be,” he said in April 2016. “Privacy in the cybersecurity context is encryption, and that is becoming one of the biggest national security issues of the day.”

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