The only black House Republican, a critic of President Donald Trump’s, has joined a growing list of GOP lawmakers not seeking reelection next year, jarring the party’s efforts to woo minority voters and recapture House control
WASHINGTON — The only black House Republican, a critic of President Donald Trump’s, has joined a growing list of GOP lawmakers not seeking reelection next year, jarring the party’s efforts to woo minority voters and recapture House control.
Rep. Will Hurd, a moderate Texan who’s split with Trump over race and immigration, became the ninth House Republican to say he or she will depart and the sixth in just over a week. Those retirements — and Republicans say there are more to come — will only complicate the GOP’s pathway to gaining the minimum 18 seats it will need to grab the chamber’s majority in the November 2020 elections.
Hurd, 41, personifies some problems his party faces as the campaign season gears up: He is among several junior lawmakers to abruptly abandon vulnerable seats and is a visible symbol of the GOP’s struggle to shed its image as a bastion for white men.
While the former CIA agent’s written announcement late Thursday said he was pursuing an opportunity in technology and national security, he added, “I will stay involved in politics to grow a Republican Party that looks like America.” He was not specific.
Hurd’s exit puts the GOP ahead of its pace in 2018, when 34 of its members declined to seek reelection — the party’s most retirements since at least 1930. It also underscored a distaste among many Republicans for life as the House minority party, today’s razor-sharp partisanship and Trump’s tantrums and tweets.
Republicans say they don’t expect this election’s retirements to reach last year’s levels. But the recent departures put perhaps four additional GOP seats in play and suggest an underlying unease within the party.
“There’s a mood of tremendous frustration with the lack of accomplishment,” Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich., said in an interview this week, days after stunning colleagues when he said he’s leaving after just two House terms. Mitchell, 62, blamed leaders of both parties for prioritizing politics over problem solving.