Hurd, Democratic Challenger on Pace to Shatter Fundraising Record

GOP rep, opponent Gina Ortiz Jones projected to run one of the most expensive races in Texas history

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Gina Ortiz Jones, his Democratic opponent this fall, project to raise a record total in campaign cash. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four months away from Election Day, the race for Texas’ 23rd District projects to be the most expensive congressional race in the state’s history.

Democratic challenger Gina Ortiz Jones more than doubled her cash on hand in the second fundraising quarter after reeling in $1.2 million in April, May and June, her campaign announced in a news release Monday.

She has raised $2.2 million to date. No Democrat in the district — first drawn in 2006 — has raised more than $2.7 million over an entire election cycle.

Still, Jones is trailing her opponent at the bank.

GOP Rep. Will Hurd, who is seeking a third term, had already raised nearly $2.4 million by the end of the first quarter filing period and had more than $1.5 million cash on hand heading into the second quarter.

Only Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the primary author of the GOP’s landmark tax code overhaul that figures to play heavily in Republican messaging nationwide this fall, had raised more than Hurd in Texas by that date.

Jones, the former Air Force intelligence officer and Iraq War veteran, was unfazed by her opponent’s fundraising total.

Democrats have unsuccessfully targeted the seat the past two cycles, but believe Jones’ military service can help counter Hurd’s experience as a CIA officer.

She also has the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which added her in March to its Red to Blue program for promising challengers. If elected, she would be the first Filipina-American to serve in Congress and the first openly gay woman to represent Texas in Washington.

“From day one, this campaign has been about giving the people of TX-23 the kind of representative they deserve,” Jones said in her announcement on Monday. “We’ve built a broad coalition of support across the district — and we’re better-positioned than ever to hold Will Hurd accountable for his votes, and to win in November.”

In the 2016 cycle, Hurd and Democratic challenger Pete Gallego together spent more than $6.2 million. Hurd won by 1.3 percentage points in a district Hillary Clinton carried by 3.4 points over President Donald Trump.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 2018 race a Toss-up.

Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.

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