TX-23 Pivotal Seat This Midterm By Peter Gaughan
In May of 2016 we examined Texas House districts where Hillary Clinton won, as well as Republican incumbents, and identified TX-23 as the most vulnerable of these districts.
Will Hurd won by just over 1 percent, while Clinton won by 3.4 percent. Unlike other Texas districts where this occurred, TX-23 has changed party control several times.
The district’s fluctuation stems from the diversity of the region, running from San Antonio to near El Paso, and comprises a significant portion of the U.S. southern border. The issues of immigration and national security are particularly salient.
President Trump’s approval rating in Texas is just 39 percent, lowest among traditionally Republican states. Representative Hurd will have to manage this situation, while trying to ensure his GOP base turns out on Election Day.
This balancing act becomes all the more important as Democrats are experiencing high levels of enthusiasm in Texas. The TX-23 Democratic primary has been more competitive than in the past.
There has been national speculation of blue wave building in Texas. The winner of the Democratic runoff is likely to have considerable support with national donors and endorsements along with considerable media attention.
A primary runoff will occur next month between Democrats Gina Ortiz Jones and Rick Treviño, who won 41 percent and 17 percent. Ortiz Jones also leads with cash on hand ($217,363) over Treviño ($3,915).
Either candidate is capable of providing a tight race for Representative Hurd, but still will have a small margin for error, given the power of incumbency advantage. The Cook Political Report has the seat “leaning Republican,” while Sabato’s Crystal Ball labels it a “toss-up.”
Peter J. Gaughan V is a research assistant at The Utica College Center of Public Affairs and Election Research and student of government and geoscience.