Recount ends in CD23

The Republicans finally have a candidate to defend their most vulnerable Congressional seat in Texas.

The recount of the Republican primary runoff for the national battleground seat of retiring U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, has reached an end, and Tony Gonzales remains the winner.

Raul Reyes, who finished 45 votes behind Gonzales in the July 14 runoff, announced Friday evening that he was abandoning the recount.

“Without a sizable shift in the vote margin after a recount in the most populous parts of the district I have decided to end the recount,” Reyes said in a news release, thanking his supporters for their “blood, sweat and tears.”

Reyes’ campaign said seven of the largest counties in the district had been recounted, and while he narrowed his deficit to 39 votes, it was “not enough to justify continuing with the counting of ballots.” A Texas GOP spokesperson confirmed that was the current recount margin but said it had not yet received an official withdrawal request from Reyes.

While the massive district has 29 counties, the seven counties referenced by the Reyes campaign made up over 80% of the vote on election night.

Gonzales is now set to be the undisputed nominee for the seat, one of Democrats’ best pickup opportunities across the country. The Democratic nominee for the seat, Gina Ortiz Jones, won her primary in March and went 171 days without a clear GOP opponent.


On Friday night, Jones’ campaign released a memo that noted her big head start but insisted it is “taking nothing for granted,” noting things like the fact it is already airing its second TV ad of the general election. The memo argued that after a contentious runoff, Gonzales would be “defined” by his affiliation with Trump, who lost the district in 2016, and views on health care.

See here for the background. I received a copy of that memo, and I’ve put it beneath the fold for your perusal. Let’s just say that I have high expectations for Gina Ortiz Jones, and I consider picking up CD23 to be the barest of minimum gains for Dems this cycle. Finally, always remember that Raul Reyes was the candidate who got Ted Cruz’s endorsement, while Gonzales was endorsed by Donald Trump. I’m sure you’re already humming the sad trombone sound. On to November!

After coming within 926 votes of unseating Congressman Will Hurd in 2018, San Antonio native and Iraq War veteran Gina Ortiz Jones is strongly positioned for victory in the race for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District.

Since launching her campaign and effectively running unopposed for over a year, Jones has built a juggernaut of a campaign that is ready to win in November. Jones now enters the final 10 weeks of this race with broad grassroots support and a compelling message that emphasizes Jones’ San Antonio roots and U.S. Air Force service, alongside her priorities for the district: the importance of quality, affordable health care guided by her mother’s battle with cancer, fighting for a level playing field so hardworking Texans can get ahead, and investing in first-class education, trade schools, and skills training to keep Texas strong.

Gina Ortiz Jones’ Campaign by the Numbers:

  • 67% of the vote in the March 3 primary

  • $4 million+ raised this cycle, more than all Republicans combined

  • 200,000+ phone calls and texts

  • 2,000+ voters signed up for campaign events

  • 400+ volunteer events

  • 21 virtual town halls to date

Jones was included in the DCCC’s first round of Red to Blue candidates, and has been endorsed by leading organizations like EMILY’s List, VoteVets, and End Citizens United.

TX-23: The Most Likely “Flip” in the Country – And Taking Nothing for Granted

TX-23 has been ranked as the congressional seat most likely to change party control in the country – and it’s clear why.

Shortly after Jones launched her 2020 campaign, Hurd opted out of a re-match, making this an open seat race. TX-23 is a district that chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016, supported Beto O’Rourke in 2018, and will vote for Joe Biden in 2020. The only remaining border district represented by a Republican, the district is home to the fourth-highest number of eligible Hispanic voters in the country – a population that continues to grow. High presidential-year turnout will see an historic number of young and diverse voters heading to the polls, boosting Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.

TX-23’s status as a perennial swing district, vast acreage, sparse population, and relative lack of landlines have long made public polling difficult. The New York Times’ final poll of the 2018 race notoriously found a 15-point Hurd lead. He won by 0.4 percent. While we expect a high amount of variance in any polling that emerges, the fact remains that Jones is the odds-on favorite to secure victory this fall.

However, the campaign is taking nothing for granted. Amid a pandemic, Jones has invested in a digital-first, bilingual organizing approach, innovating new ways to reach voters in all of the district’s 29 counties and prioritizing safe standards that protect public health.

In March, the campaign opened a “virtual field office,” where staff and volunteers have conducted 200,000+ phone calls and texts to Texans, signed up over 2,000 voters for campaign events, and hosted more than 400 volunteer events. Jones also hosts weekly virtual town halls on key issues such as rural and border health care, veterans’ services, and access to education, available in English and Spanish.

The campaign has also launched the first two general election TV ads in the race as part of significant, six-figure buys on broadcast and cable in San Antonio. “My Story” highlights how Jones’ lived experiences have shaped her commitment to fighting for South and West Texans, and “Issues” showcases Jones’ commitment to the priorities that matter to Texas families, from coronavirus recovery to expanding broadband access.

After Divisive and Protracted GOP Runoff, Gonzales Defined by Trump Allegiance and Health Care Repeal

More than a year after Hurd announced his retirement rather than lose a rematch bid, Republicans have finally decided on a nominee in Tony Gonzales. While Gina Ortiz Jones spent the past year building coalitions across TX-23 along with significant cash reserves, the Republican contest devolved into a divisive, expensive, and protracted race to the right.

Gonzales’ campaign had just $391,000 cash on hand as of June 30 and a surprise 11th-hour endorsement and $100,000 ad buy from Ted Cruz for Gonzales’ runoff opponent forced Gonzales to spend tens of thousands more dollars from his already limited resources to compete on the airwaves – a decision that Gonzales’ spokesman called “catastrophic” and “strategically indefensible.”

And while Hurd was adept in the art of Trump triangulation and playing coy, Gonzales has run as a conservative Trump loyalist who supports “eliminating” the Affordable Care Act in an overt effort to secure an endorsement from President Trump and claw his way to the nomination.

As the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Texas Tribune and Roll Call all noted in their coverage of the bitter GOP primary, embracing Trump and his policies may be a liability in this Clinton +3 district. Nevertheless, Gonzales is running on Trump’s unpopular border wall paid for by raiding Texas military bases along with the president’s commitment to raising prescription drug costs and stripping away protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Jones has remained focused on common-sense issues like health care and jobs in this working class district. Gonzales may have stumbled his way to a primary win, but his total embrace of the president will sink him in this pro-Clinton, pro-Biden district.

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