Will Hurd, only black Republican in House, retiring

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-Texas), the only African American Republican in the House of Representatives, announced Thursday night that he will not seek reelection 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. 

Hurd's abrupt decision to not seek reelection comes amid a period of flux inside the Republican Party. He becomes the sixth GOP lawmaker and third House Republican from Texas to announce his retirement in the past two weeks. 

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Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayTexas faces turbulent political moment Democratic Party official: Texas is 'biggest battleground state in the country' Another Texas congressman planning to retire MORE, another GOP lawmaker from Texas, announced Wednesday that he would not seek reelection. Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonTexas faces turbulent political moment Another Texas congressman planning to retire Hurd retirement leaves GOP gloomy on 2020 MORE also announced his retirement last month.

Hurd said in a statement that he left a job in the CIA to run for Congress in 2014 to help give the lower chamber leadership in areas related to intelligence and national security. 

"While Congress has a role in these issues, so does the private sector and civil society," he said. "After reflecting on how best to help our country address these challenges, I’m leaving the House of Representatives to help our country in a different way."

Hurd added that he would continue to remain in politics to "help make sure the Republican Party looks like America."

Hurd represents a congressional district that stretches along the U.S.-Mexico border between San Antonio and El Paso. The seat has flipped between Republicans and Democrats five times since the 1990s, The New York Times has noted

The district voted for Democratic presidential nominee 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 in 2016, the same year Hurd won reelection to his second term.

Hurd narrowly held on to his seat in 2018, fending off a challenge from Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones. Following Hurd's retirement announcement, the 23rd Congressional District moved from "toss-up" to "leans Democratic," according to Crystal Ball House ratings. The Cook Political Report rates Hurd's district as "Republican toss up."

Jones launched a 2020 campaign for Hurd's seat in May. 

Hurd has shown a willingness to criticize 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. He was one of the four House Republicans last month to vote to condemn Trump's attacks against a group of minority congresswomen as racist. 

Trump had told four freshman House Democrats — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts The latest victims of the far-left's environmental zealotry: Long Islanders Ocasio-Cortez brushes off Trump tweet claiming she is 'fuming' over Tlaib, Omar attention MORE (N.Y), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTlaib suggests boycotting Maher show after he calls anti-Israel boycott movement 'bullsh-t purity test' The Memo: Trump pushes back amid signs of economic slowdown Tlaib's grandmother to Trump: 'May God ruin' you MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Ocasio-Cortez brushes off Trump tweet claiming she is 'fuming' over Tlaib, Omar attention Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' MORE (Mass.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibTlaib suggests boycotting Maher show after he calls anti-Israel boycott movement 'bullsh-t purity test' The Memo: Trump pushes back amid signs of economic slowdown Tlaib's grandmother to Trump: 'May God ruin' you MORE (Mich) — to "go back" to the "crime infested places" they came from. 

But Hurd has said that he will vote for Trump again if he is the Republican nominee in 2020. He reiterated his position to The Washington Post in an interview on Thursday. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee expressed optimism about winning Hurd's seat. 

"Hurd has been a lockstep supporter of the worst of Washington Republicans’ policies and he sealed his fate when he pledged to vote for Donald Trump in 2020," DCCC spokesman Avery Jaffe said. "Democrats will win this seat and if Will Hurd doesn’t believe he can keep his job in a changing Texas, his colleagues must be having second thoughts too."

Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia suggested in a statement that Hurd's retirement stemmed from knowing "his time was up."

“The simple facts are that hypocrite Trump Republican Will Hurd did not stand a chance in the 23rd congressional district," Garcia said. "Texas Democrats are rising up everywhere, clearly Will Hurd knew his time was up."

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.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, pushed back against claims that Hurd's district was shifting leftward. 

"Contrary to what the 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," Emmer said in a statement. 

Updated at 8:30 p.m.