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 HurdHillicon Valley: Oracle confirms deal with TikTok to be 'trusted technology provider' | QAnon spreads across globe, shadowing COVID-19 | VA hit by data breach impacting 46,000 veterans House approves bill to secure internet-connected federal devices against cyber threats House Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts MORE (R-Texas), who's facing a tough challenge in a district won by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump furor stokes fears of unrest Bloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close 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 Gallego4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch GOP candidate scores upset win in Texas state Senate runoff Koch group launches digital ads in tight Texas House race 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 AguilarOn The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Anxious Democrats amp up pressure for vote on COVID-19 aid Rep. Robin Kelly enters race for Democratic caucus vice chair 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'RourkeBeto O'RourkeJimmy Carter says his son smoked pot with Willie Nelson on White House roof O'Rourke endorses Kennedy for Senate: 'A champion for the values we're most proud of' 2020 Democrats do convention Zoom call 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.