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Koch group launches digital ads in tight Texas House race

Koch group launches digital ads in tight Texas House race
© Greg Nash

A Latino group affiliated with conservative mega-donor Charles Koch launched a digital ad campaign on Thursday in support of Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters for midterms Election Countdown: Florida candidates face new test from hurricane | GOP optimistic about expanding Senate majority | Top-tier Dems start heading to Iowa | Bloomberg rejoins Dems | Trump heads to Pennsylvania rally MORE (R-Texas), who's facing a tough challenge in a district won by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMueller's team asking Manafort about Roger Stone: report O'Rourke targets Cruz with several attack ads a day after debate GOP pollster says polls didn't pick up on movement in week before 2016 election MORE in 2016.

The Libre Initiative will run bilingual digital ads to mobilize Latinos in Texas's largest district, which is 68 percent Latino.

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“Our community has a better path forward when their legislators support policies that remove barriers to opportunity. Congressman Hurd is a fighter for immigration reform, lower taxes, limited regulation, veteran empowerment, and for expanding trade to create jobs," said Daniel Garza, president of The Libre Initiative.

The ads highlight Hurd's record on immigration, taxes and veteran's health care.

Hurd first unseated then-Rep. Pete GallegoPete Pena GallegoGOP candidate scores upset win in Texas state Senate runoff Koch group launches digital ads in tight Texas House race Iraq War vet wins Texas Dem runoff MORE (D) in 2014, and again beat Gallego in 2016, in what turned out to be one of the most expensive races in the country.

He's facing a challenge from Iraq War veteran Gina Ortiz Jones (D) in a race that Sabato's Crystal Ball rates as a toss-up and the Cook Political Report has as "leans Republican."

Clinton won the district by 3 points in 2016.

Texas's 23rd Congressional District stretches from San Antonio to El Paso, making it one of the largest in the country. It's notoriously expensive to campaign in the district, both because of its size and because it encompasses two major media markets.

Hurd, a former CIA undercover agent, took a central role in the immigration fight earlier this year, pairing up with Democratic Rep. Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarHispanic Dems want answers on detention of immigrant minors Aguilar launches bid for Democratic leadership position Koch group launches digital ads in tight Texas House race MORE (Calif.) to draft a bipartisan deal that would have traded increased border security for permanent legalized status for so-called Dreamers.

The bipartisan legislation was later scrapped as Republican leadership cut a deal with moderates to attempt passage of Republican-only legislation that failed in a House floor vote.

Hurd also gained national prominence during a cross-country road trip from San Antonio to Washington, D.C., with Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeO'Rourke: I had to be aggressive in debate to fight 'dishonest' Cruz attacks The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump requests Turkey's evidence on missing journalist | Takeaways from Texas Senate debate | Key Mueller findings could be ready after midterms Ex-Trump strategist calls Beto O'Rourke a beta male MORE (D-Texas). The two representatives livestreamed their trip, which they embarked upon to make House votes after their flight was canceled because of the weather.