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Will Hurd, only black Republican in House, retiring

Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHouse poised to override Trump veto for first time Lawmakers call for including creation of Latino, women's history museums in year-end spending deal House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit 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 ConawayThompson named top Republican on Agriculture Bottom line House Republican introduces amendment to include farm aid in stopgap funding bill MORE, another GOP lawmaker from Texas, announced Wednesday that he would not seek reelection. Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonHouse Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Republican Fort Bend County Sheriff wins Texas House seat 10 bellwether House races to watch on election night 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 ClintonCan Biden encompass the opposition he embodied? Disney silent on Trump status in Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom Biden has an opportunity to win over conservative Christians 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 TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol 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-CortezNew York AG sues NYPD over excessive force at Black Lives Matter protests Pressley's chief of staff said her office's panic buttons 'had been torn out' before Capitol riot Ocasio-Cortez: Congress looking into ways to rein in 'disinformation' MORE (N.Y), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarDemocrats poised to impeach Trump again Pence opposes removing Trump under 25th Amendment: reports Pelosi vows to impeach Trump again — if Pence doesn't remove him first MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyAyanna Pressley's husband tests positive for COVID-19 House Democrats call for investigation into 'suspicious' Capitol tours day before riot Pressley's chief of staff said her office's panic buttons 'had been torn out' before Capitol riot MORE (Mass.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOvernight Energy: EPA rule exempts many polluting industries from future air regulations | Ex-Michigan governor to be charged over Flint water crisis: report | Officials ousted from White House after papers casting doubt on climate science Ex-Michigan governor to be charged over Flint water crisis: report Cori Bush shares picture of expanded 'Squad' 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 EmmerGOP at crossroads after Capitol siege Wave of companies cut off donations — much of it to GOP California was key factor in House GOP's 2020 success 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.