The Battle for Big Bend

Will Hurd is the kind of guy Republicans want – and need, especially this election cycle – to succeed. A former CIA employee, Hurd is the first black Republican elected to Congress from Texas, representing Congressional District 23, a sprawling area that stretches from San Antonio to near El Paso.

The signs have been promising for Hurd, who faces a re-match against former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, an Alpine Democrat who spent years in the Texas House. Hurd raised $511,000 in the first quarter of this year, according to the Texas Tribune, compared to Gallego’s $312,000 in that same period.

The Big Bend race is the only competitive one in Texas this year, and the House GOP is dead-set on keeping it in their column. Last weekend, San Antonio Express-News’ Bill Lambrecht wrote about all the support House leadership has given Hurd in last few months.

He went to the Middle East with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has worked to emphasize Hurd’s expertise in national security and technology. The House passed Hurd’s bill last week that would allow the federal government to design software for other countries to screen terrorists more easily.

Lambrecht’s got the numbers: “Since last year, nine bills that Hurd either wrote or had a hand in have passed the House. He was chief sponsor of two bills that also passed the Senate and became law: one fixing Border Patrol agents’ pay complications and another reducing duplication in Homeland Security IT purchases.”

It is that kind of record that seemingly any politician in Washington would want. Hurd got it as a freshman, which even Ryan’s office acknowledged was an exception on Capitol Hill.

Ryan’s spokesman told the Express-News that “even as a freshman, Will has quickly proven to be a leader on pressing national security issues by leveraging his experience in the CIA. … With all the threats we face in the world, he was an obvious choice to take part in our delegation.”

Hurd is, in that case, an essential part of the Republican majority in the U.S. House, which is the only body in Washington that, arguably, isn’t up for grabs in November. There are still many months before the general election, but the White House and the U.S. Senate seem to be on everybody’s mind.

Full Story at Houston Chronicle

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