Cook Political Report moves TX-23 from Toss Up to Lean Democratic after Hurd retirement

Cook Political Report moves TX-23 from Toss Up to Lean Democratic after Hurd retirement
© Stefani Reynolds

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, changed its rating for the House race for Texas’s 23rd Congressional District from “Toss Up” to “Lean Democratic” after Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdRepublicans offer support for Steve King challenger House Democrats target 2020 GOP incumbents in new ad The 9 House Republicans who support background checks MORE (R) announced he would not seek reelection in 2020.

Hurd’s announcement marked a boost to Democrats who hope to flip the border district, which Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' Fighter pilot vs. astronaut match-up in Arizona could determine control of Senate Progressive Democrats' turnout plans simply don't add up MORE won in 2016 and Hurd held on to by half a point in last year’s midterm race.

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“Hurd is probably the only Republican capable of holding Texas's massive 23rd District, which stretches from the San Antonio suburbs to El Paso and takes in more of the Mexico border than any other district. A former CIA operative, Hurd developed a reputation as an indefatigable retail campaigner who isn't afraid to shred President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE, particularly on Russia and the proposed border wall,” Cook’s David Wasserman wrote.

“Republicans will be hard-pressed to find a candidate who can replicate Hurd's appeal,” he wrote.

Hurd said he is leaving office at the end of his term to “pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security.”

Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones, who narrowly lost her race to unseat Hurd last year and is running again in 2020, praised the incumbent’s service and said she is ready to take the reins of the district.

“After years of serving our country, first in the CIA and then in Congress, I respect Congressman Hurd’s decision to serve in a new capacity. From San Antonio to Socorro and everywhere in between, Texans are ready for new leadership in Washington and I’m ready to serve,” she tweeted.

But the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has expressed confidence that the GOP will hold on to the seat. 

“Contrary to what pundits will tell you, this is an R+1 district and we will fight tooth and nail to ensure it remains in Republican hands in 2020,” NRCC Chairman Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerThe House Republicans and Democrats not seeking reelection in 2020 Cook Political Report moves TX-23 from Toss Up to Lean Democratic after Hurd retirement Will Hurd, only black Republican in House, retiring MORE (R-Minn.) said in a statement.