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Gallego pushes for more debates in CD-23 contest

Also, a Democratic super PAC supporting Pete Gallego will drop another $445K into efforts to help him win back the swing congressional district.

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

Democratic challenger Pete Gallego is ramping up pressure on U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, to up the number of debates ahead of their rematch in Texas' 23rd congressional district.

On Sunday, Gallego's campaign released a list of five debates it said the Alpine Democrat has agreed to with Hurd, who's fighting for re-election in the only competitive congressional race this November in Texas. Hurd has agreed to only one of the debates — a televised debate with KSAT 12 News in San Antonio — according to Gallego's team.

"I challenge Congressman Hurd to quit dodging direct questions from voters and reporters and agree to more opportunities to allow our citizens to hear in person our views" on the issues, Gallego said in a statement.

Asked in August about the possibility of debating Gallego, Hurd told The Texas Tribune he "would love the opportunity to show contrasts between [Gallego's] failure in Congress to do anything and our record of accomplishment."

Gallego is also out with a new ad criticizing Hurd for taking too long to disown his party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

Courageous leaders in both parties have spoken out," Gallego says in the direct-to-camera spot, which was released Monday morning. "Congressman Hurd waited until it was too late to speak out about Donald Trump."

"Even after Trump insulted Hispanics, women, people with disabilities and military families," a narrator adds.

Hurd disavowed Trump's candidacy over the weekend, following the release of a 2005 clip showing Trump speaking lewdly about women. Hurd, who had never endorsed Trump, said in a statement that Trump "should step aside for a true conservative to beat Hillary Clinton."

Democrats have long hoped Trump's bombastic candidacy would be a drag on Hurd's campaign and open a path for Gallego to reclaim the seat.

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House Majority PAC, the super PAC committed to electing Democrats to the U.S. House, will increase its advertising in the final weeks of the campaign for CD-23 by about $445,000, a media buying source exclusively tells the Texas Tribune.

The group supports Gallego in the race.

Hurd can count on significant air support as well. HMP's Republican counterpart, Congressional Leadership Fund, is making heavy investments in the race. The national parties' House campaign arms are also spending big on this race.

The expectation is that the advertising wars will continue up through Election Day. 

The ongoing turmoil in the presidential campaign may mean groups on either side will shift their money between races, as Democrats go on the offensive. But national operatives on both sides say there is little strategic value for either side pulling their money from this southwest Texas seat.

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State Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, isn’t a Hillary Clinton supporter and made that clear when he posted a comment on a Tribune story that attempted to explain what options are open to Texas Republicans who don’t want to vote for Donald Trump.

After saying that anything other than a vote for Trump is, in effect, a vote for Clinton, Hall added, “I do not condone in any way the things that Trump has said but his comments are no where nearly as bad as the foul, trash, hateful, mean and degrading as the things Hillary has said about our military, law enforcement, FBI, and Secret Service personnel. ... So, stay home or vote for a third person and you will become a member of the Hillary team that will destroy liberty and America as we now know it.”

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Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson released the first TV ad of her re-election campaign.

The ad, “Fighting for Us,” highlights the incumbent’s actions taken against illegal game rooms.

She is facing off against Democratic challenger Kim Ogg in a rematch of the 2014 contest won by Anderson.

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