Former Texas Rep. Will Hurd Launches 2024 GOP Presidential Run

Former Texas Rep. Will Hurd Launches 2024 GOP Presidential Run
Former Texas Congressman Will Hurd speaks to guests at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Spring Kick-Off in Clive, Iowa, on April 22, 2023. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Former Texas Rep. Will Hurd, a fierce critic of former President Donald Trump, announced Thursday that he’s running for president in 2024 as a Republican, entering an already crowded GOP primary field dominated by Trump.

Hurd, a one-time CIA officer before entering politics, represented the state’s 23rd Congressional District—a massive district that stretches across the southwestern portion of Texas and encompasses more than 800 miles of the 1,200-mile Texas-Mexico border.

In a campaign video published early on June 22, Hurd said he’s running for president because “the soul of our country is under attack” and America desperately needs “common-sense leadership.”

“Our enemies plot, create chaos, and threaten the American Dream. At home, illegal immigration and fentanyl stream into our country. Inflation, still out of control. Crime and homelessness, growing in our cities, and liberals do nothing,” he said in the video.

“President Biden can’t solve these problems—or won’t,” he continued. “And if we nominate a lawless, selfish, failed politician like Donald Trump … we all know Joe Biden will win again.”

Before serving in Congress, Hurd was a clandestine officer who worked in Pakistan. He speaks Urdu, Pakistan’s national language. In 2020, he opted not to seek reelection to the House, saying then that he preferred to “pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security.” Last year, he traveled the country on a tour to promote his book, “American Reboot: An Idealist’s Guide to Getting Big Things Done.”

“For the past 20 years, I’ve been on the front lines of the most pressing fights facing our nation. I hunted down terrorists in the Middle East after 9/11. In Congress, I fought to lower taxes, secure our border, and provide more opportunities for the middle class. I’ve worked at the highest level of business to harness technology and innovation for the future of America. These experiences have shown me that this moment, that this election, has never mattered more. That’s why I’m running for the Republican nomination for president of the United States,” he said.

In an interview with “CBS Mornings” on Thursday, Hurd revealed that he filed paperwork to be the GOP nominee earlier that morning, adding he and his wife made the decision “because we live in complicated times and we need common sense.”

“There are a number of generational defining challenges that we’re faced with in the United States of America—everything from the Chinese government trying to surpass us as the global superpower, the fact that inflation is persistent at a time when technologies like artificial intelligence is going to upend every single industry, and our kids, their scores in math, science, and reading are the lowest they’ve ever been in this century,” he said.

“These are the issues we should be talking about,” he added. “And to be frank, I’m pissed that we’re not talking about these things.”

Crowded Field

Besides Trump, other Republican presidential contenders include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, anti-woke activist and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, radio host Larry Elder, and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Most of the GOP candidates in the race are trying to run more against Biden than against Trump—who, according to polls, remains easily the most popular candidate among GOP voters. Hurd, as well as Christie and Hutchinson, have all repeatedly criticized Trump and the former commander-in-chief’s strong influence on the Republican Party.

A pro-Trump super PAC issued a statement in response to Hurd entering the GOP field, calling the latest long-shot candidate a “RINO”—or “Republican In Name Only,” a disparaging term that refers to a Republican candidate whose behavior is seen as running counter to Republican values.

“Let’s be honest, Never-Trumper Will Hurd wouldn’t even consider getting in this race if Ron DeSantis’ campaign wasn’t in total free fall,” Karoline Leavitt, spokeswoman for Make America Great Again Inc., said in a statement. “Hurd’s entry means nothing for President Trump’s standing, but means everything for Ron DeSantis, further underscoring how far Ron’s star has fallen.”

On the other side of the aisle, the Democratic National Committee was also quick to condemn the presidential announcement.

“Will Hurd spent his career in Congress in lockstep with Donald Trump’s extreme MAGA agenda—voting to rig the economy for the ultra-wealthy, ban abortion nationwide, gut Planned Parenthood, and repeal the Affordable Care Act, all while cozying up to the gun lobby,” the committee said in a statement.

Despite joining an already crowded GOP primary with little national profile, Hurd built a reputation in Congress as pro-business, pragmatic, and unafraid to seek bipartisan consensus. When a snowstorm canceled flights to Washington in 2017, he rented a car and drove for two days from San Antonio to the nation’s capital with Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat from El Paso who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2020.

Hurd’s entering the race keeps alive Texas’s longest-in-the-nation streak of having at least one presidential major candidate who rose to public prominence in the state or lived there while running for or holding office. The last time Texas didn’t have a major presidential hopeful was 1972.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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