[guest post by Dana]
Rep. Will Hurd, the only black Republican in the House of Representatives, has announced his retirement from Congress:
We are in a geopolitical competition with China to have the world’s most important economy. There is a global race to be the leader in artificial intelligence, because whoever dominates AI will rule the world. We face growing cyberattacks every day. Extreme poverty, lack of economic opportunity and violence in Central America is placing unbearable pressure on our borders. While Congress has a role in these issues, so does the private sector and civil society.
After reflecting on how best to help our country address these challenges, 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.
I’m leaving the House of Representatives to help our country in a different way. I want to use my knowledge and experience to focus on these generational challenges in new ways. It was never my intention to stay in Congress forever, but I will stay involved in politics to grow a Republican Party that looks like America.
From his announcement, this strikes me as both a great need and a soon-to-be great void upon Hurd’s departure. Kudos to Hurd for being pro-active and doing what so many Republican officials shy away from because they just don’t see the point. Hurd, though, always saw the point:
As the only African American Republican in the House of Representatives and as a Congressman who represents a 71% Latino district, I’ve taken a conservative message to places that don’t often hear it. Folks in these communities believe in order to solve problems we should empower people not the government, help families move up the economic ladder through free markets not socialism and achieve and maintain peace by being nice with nice guys and tough with tough guys. These Republican ideals resonate with people who don’t think they identify with the Republican Party. Every American should feel they have a home in our party.
My philosophy has been simple. Be honest. Treat people with respect. Never shy away from a fight. Never accept “no” or the status quo and never hesitate to speak my mind.
About speaking his mind, Hurd did just that last month when he took Trump to task for his tweets about the four Democratic congresswomen. Hurd explained how the president’s racist tweets made it more difficult for him to take conservatism into communities that traditionally go Democrat:
“I think those tweets are racist and xenophobic. They’re also inaccurate,” he said.
“Look, I’m the only black Republican in the House of Representatives. I go into communities that most Republicans don’t show up in order to take a conservative message,” he also said, adding, “This makes it harder in order to take our ideas, and our platform, to communities that don’t necessarily identify with the Republican Party.”
Hurd said it is “concerning to me that there are people that think that’s OK, that kind of behavior’s OK” when asked if he was surprised why so many Republicans have not spoken out about Trump’s tweets.
Asked why the President “keeps doing this kind of stuff” and if he thinks Trump is racist, Hurd said, “Well, you’d have to ask him those questions. But the comments were indeed racist.”
According to some, the wave of retiring Republicans isn’t over yet. And that’s what has them worried:
Over the past two weeks alone,
fivesix Republicans — including a member of the Republican leadership team — said they would not seek reelection. And that comes after Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana, who leads recruitment efforts for the House GOP’s campaign arm and is one of the few Republican women left in the House, shocked her colleagues by announcing her retirement earlier this summer.
“Will there be more retirements? Most certainly there will be, for a range of reasons,” said Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.), who announced his own retirement last week.
You can read more about how Hurd’s retirement will impact the 23rd district in the battlefield state here.
As with the retirement of Rep. Pete Olson, this too seems like a gift to the Democrats:
Huge news for Dems: Rep. Will Hurd (R) to retire in 2020. He’s probably the only R capable of holding the seat. #TX23 moves from Toss Up to Lean D at @CookPolitical.
I’ll end with this from Rep. Mitchell:
Mitchell, however, pointed to an entirely different reason for his retirement: He is fed up with the increasing polarization in Congress and with some of Trump’s divisive rhetoric and tweets, which Republicans are asked about on a near-daily basis.
“It is demoralizing to watch the gridlock that happens,” Mitchell said. “Absolutely demoralizing.”
My guess is that Hurd would nod his head in agreement.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)