There is certainly no denying the historical significance of Tuesday’s victories by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) in South Carolina and Congresswoman-Elect Mia Love (R-UT) in Utah, but the most surprising and politically significant for the GOP came in Texas’ 23rd District, with Will Hurd ousting Democratic Party incumbent Pete Gallegos. Will Hurd’s triumph not only makes him the first black Republican member of congress from the Lone Star State since Reconstruction, but is impressive in that he took out a sitting Democrat in a predominately minority district.
In a district with a 55 percent Latino population and median annual income of less than $20,000, the 23rd has been held by the Democratic Party in all but 10 years since its creation in 1967. The states largest district of 800 plus square miles and bordering Mexico, it seemed a reliable Democrat district and their symbol for a “future blue Texas” where liberals hope demographics will change the scope of one of the nation’s more conservative states. While the Republicans managed to run a close second in the past two election cycles, both these races were heavily funded by the RNC and featured Hispanic GOP candidates who were unable to eclipse 45 percent of the vote.
Then came Will Hurd from out of the shadows, much in keeping with his resume, to oust Gallegos and provide Republicans a talented and innovative voice not only for the African-American community, but the long-suffering residents of the 23rd District. The 37 year-old son of an African-American father and white mother graduated from Texas A&M in 2000 and spent nearly a decade working for the CIA in India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and throughout Southeast Asia. Focusing on counter-terrorism, cybersecurity and undercover work, he took this experience with him as a Senior Advisor with FusionX, a leading cybersecurity firm.
With his background he seems a natural fit for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, having already received endorsements from GOP stalwarts John Bolton, Robert Gates and Allen West. Bolton echoed many in the intelligence community who see Hurd as someone who help bring clarity and respect for the CIA. “Especially when some, even in the Republican Party, wildly distort what our intelligence agencies actually do,” Bolton noted, “who better to set them straight in House and Senate caucus meetings than a veteran of the intelligence community.”
While his experience, intelligence and insight sets him up as a potential national figure, his first task is to serve the residents of Texas’ 23rd District. In this he will serve a vital role for the Republican Party as well. As Republicans look to break the stereotype as a largely white and suburban party, his service for the largely urban and minority district will be key. Despite Democratic Party stereotyping, the Republican Party has a deep bench of diversity throughout the country, including more minorities and females serving in Governors roles, as well as its growing congressional ranks, but in most cases were voted in by or serve districts that are predominately white. By electing men and women in predominately minority areas, Republicans can get a better assessment of the needs of the residents in these areas, long run and under-served by Democrats.
The GOP has a host of policy positions which can better serve the interests of residents in lower-income areas, having elected conservative officials like Hurd in Washington will enable the GOP to put together a more comprehensive plan to address the ills of these areas, long neglected and taken for granted by a Democratic Party who increasingly sees them merely as a commodity, and often increases their political hold by perpetuating poverty and hopelessness. As nearly all elected representation in minority districts, from congressional to city councils to school boards, being filled by Democrats, Republicans simply haven’t had the necessary “boots on the ground” to truly assess conservative alternatives to failed liberal policies on a local level. While few in the national media are talking about Will Hurd, he just may be a crucial piece of a puzzle to increase Republican Party presence in black and Latinos communities, to help create a brighter future for both his party and tens of millions of our fellow Americans mired in the failures of liberal-Progressive policy.
Commentary by Paul M Winters
Founder & Managing Editor, Dignitas News Service