Will Hurd, the only black House Republican, now sixth GOP recent retirement

Texas Rep. Will Hurd is the sixth Republican member of the House in less than two weeks to announce they would not be running for re-election.
Image: Rep. Will Hurd
Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting to organize for the 115th Congress on Jan. 24, 2017.Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call file

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By Doha Madani

The only black Republican in the House of Representatives announced he would not be seeking re-election Thursday evening, the sixth such announcement in little over a week.

Texas Rep. Will Hurd, who was first elected in 2015, said that he would be leaving Congress to work on issues "at the nexus between technology and national security." The former CIA agent assured that he would stay involved with politics, but wanted to leave in order to aid the intelligence community "in different ways."

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"When I took the oath of office after joining the CIA, I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all its enemies," Hurd said in a statement posted to social media. "I took the same oath on my first day in Congress. This oath doesn’t have a statute of limitations."

Hurd’s retirement means that South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott will now be the only African American Republican serving in Congress after former Utah Rep. Mia Love lost her re-election campaign during the midterms last year.

Hurd was notably one of only four Republicans in the House to vote in favor of a House resolution last month that condemned racists comments made by President Donald Trump about four Democratic congresswomen of color.

"There is no room in America for racism, sexism, antisemitism, xenophobia and hate. I voted to condemn the President's tweets today but I hope that Speaker Pelosi also considers holding members of her own party accountable to the same degree to which she holds the President," Hurd tweeted at the time.

The three-term Congressman was appointed by former Speaker Paul Ryan to serve on the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee in 2017 and was also selected to serve on the on the House Appropriations Committee earlier in January.

Hurd is the sixth Republican member of Congress to announce their exit in little over a week. Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell said he would not be seeking re-election last Wednesday, and was followed in quick succession by Texas Rep. Pete Olson, Alabama Rep. Martha Roby, Utah Rep. Rob Bishop and Texas Rep. K. Michael Conaway.

Hurd's open seat will be considered a major pick up opportunity for Democrats in 2020. Hillary Clinton won his southwest Texas district in 2016, and Hurd only narrowly secured re-election in 2018.