Originally posted at The Dallas Morning News by Michael Marks on April 2, 2015
WASHINGTON — Former Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, announced today that he will seek to reclaim the U.S. House seat he lost to Rep. Will Hurd in November.
“Seeing Congressman Hurd so decisively on the wrong side of issues that matter to Texas families like mine made this an easier decision,” Hurd said. “Texas families deserve better – so yes, I am going to run and I am going to win.”
Gallego, a veteran of the Texas House, was ousted from Congress last year after one term representing District 23. Hurd, a Republican and former CIA officer, edged Gallego by just under 2,500 votes.
The volatile, heavily Hispanic district has changed hands in every election since 2010. It is one of the largest districts in the country, including 800 miles of the U.S-Mexico border and parts of both San Antonio and El Paso.
Since losing to Hurd, Gallego has railed against the “broken” nature of Washington politics. In today’s announcement, the former member of the centrist Blue Dog Democratic group cast himself as a compromiser and deal-maker.
“I have proven myself to be a leader who can get things done by working well with both Republicans and Democrats — that remains all too rare in D.C.,” Gallego said.
As one of the few competitive elections in Texas, the race will likely be hard-fought and expensive.
Outside groups spent millions in the 2014 election. And Republicans will probably spend lavishly to protect Hurd, a rising conservative star. He is one of the few African-American Republicans in Congress, and he chairs a subcommittee under the Oversight and Government Reform Committee — a rarity for a freshman.
In the immediate aftermath of the 2014 election, Gallego said he intended “to provide Will any and all help I possibly can.” But in today’s announcement, he was critical of his once and future opponent’s record thus far.
“Congressman Will Hurd has quickly become part of the problem,” Gallego said.
Gallego’s campaign will start this summer with a listening tour of the district.