Gallego to Seek Rematch With U.S. Rep. Hurd

As expected, former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, will run for Congress in a rematch against Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio. Hurd ousted Gallego in 2014 by a 2-point margin.

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego (left) was ousted by Republican Will Hurd, right, in the 2014 CD-23 contest.

*Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego and a consultant to U.S. Rep. Will Hurd.

WASHINGTON — As expected, former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego will seek to win back the congressional seat he lost to current U.S. Rep. Will Hurd.

Hurd, R-San Antonio, ousted Gallego, D-Alpine, by a 2-point margin in 2014. The race for the 23rd Congressional District is likely to be Texas’ most exciting federal race in the fall of 2016, thanks to a lack of competitive House races.

"I’m confident in my strengths," Gallego said in a Thursday morning interview with The Tribune. "I’m prepared to jump any hurdle." 

National Democrats began recruiting Gallego for the rematch immediately after he lost to Hurd in November. Gallego represented CD-23 for one term after serving for 22 years in the Texas House.

"I don’t view that election in any way a reflection on me, and my performance as a member of Congress," Gallego said of the 2014 election. 

Instead, Gallego pointed to poor Democratic turnout in the midterm election, and noted that Hurd did not break the 50 percent threshold.

Josh Robinson, a consultant to Hurd, said Thursday that Hurd's focus is on his district. "Will is going to continue to do what he’s been doing," Robinson said. "He’s enjoying being in Congress, traveling the district and talking to the district's constituents."

Texas’ CD-23 is one of the largest geographic House districts in the country, encompassing much of the southwestern part of the state. Over the last 10 years, it switched hands four times in that time span, with Democrats having had success in presidential elections and Republicans having the upper hand in most midterm votes.

Hurd, for his part, started his congressional career with a realistic outlook on the competitive nature of the district. 

“Re-election has already started,” Hurd told The Texas Tribune on his first day in the U.S. House in January. “I said this from the beginning, I came up here to do my job. And in two years, the residents get to judge me and grade my paper. “

National Republicans will be expected to fight hard to hold onto the seat. Hurd is one of only a handful of African-American Republicans in Congress, and the national GOP has made a concerted effort in recent years to reach out to minorities.

Gallego argued Hurd's voting record did not reflect the competitive nature of the district, and criticized the Republican freshman for having " abandoned his post on the Small Business Committee." 

Gallego also said he is not worried about whether a Democratic primary challenger might emerge. 

"You never know," he said. "I’m ready for whatever candidate that comes along, whether it’s a Republican candidate or a Democrat." 

Any successful candidate must be able to travel extensively and raise enough money to advertise in the San Antonio and El Paso television markets. 

"It’s not an easy decision," Gallego said. "It was made much easier by the fact that my wife and son are going to make this a team effort." 

"We’re all in."