Republicans were already “rattled” on Thursday — as Politico put it — by the growing wave of retirements from GOP lawmakers this year when another bombshell dropped on the party.
Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, announced he will not run for re-election in 2020.
“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,” Hurd said on Twitter.
Unlike some other Republicans who have announced their departures thus far, Hurd comes from a swing district. In 2018, he won the 23rd district by a hair’s margin with just half a point between him and Democratic opponent Gina Ortiz Jones. Without an incumbent Republican in the seat, it will be harder for his party to hold on to the district.
Two other Texas Republicans, Rep. Pete Olson and Rep. Mike Conaway, have also thrown in the towel early and announced their retirements.
Olson, who came to Congress in 2009, would have faced a competitive reelection battle in his district in the Houston suburbs, where he just narrowly fended off a Democratic challenger last year. And Democrats are dumping resources into Texas this cycle, hoping to build on their gains in the midterms.
“Texas is the biggest battleground state. Republicans know it,” said Abhi Rahman, communications director for the Texas Democratic Party. “We wouldn’t be surprised if there were more retirements because Republicans know their 2020 prospects in Texas are doomed.”
After the Hurd announcement, MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted: “Time for the GOP to start fully freaking out about Texas.”