Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Will Hurd Decides to Tilt at Windmills

The Republican primary field just keeps getting bigger. Former Texas representative Will Hurd has been teasing a run for the better part of 3 years (since the tail end of his time in Congress, which ended in 2021), and yesterday he took the plunge.

Here is the first portion of Hurd's announcement, which summarizes his pitch for the presidency:

The soul of our country is under attack. Our enemies plot, create chaos and threaten the American dream at home. Illegal immigration and fentanyl streaming through our country. Inflation still out of control. Crime and homelessness growing in our cities. And liberals do nothing. President Biden can't solve these problems. Or won't. And if we nominate a lawless, selfish, failed politician like Donald Trump who lost the House, the Senate and the White House, we all know Joe Biden will win again. Republicans deserve better. America deserves better. It's common sense. Common sense says we're better together.

Executive summary: Joe Biden sucks. Donald Trump sucks. Vote for me. It's just common sense.

There is a time and place where Hurd would have been a compelling candidate. He's young, charismatic, Black, comes from a state with a lot of voters, and is sorta moderate (but only sorta, and only by the standards of the current iteration of the Republican Party). If the candidate had a time machine, and could travel back to 1996, for example, he would have been an interesting alternative to Bob Dole. Not that he would have won the nomination, mind you, just that he would have been interesting.

But Hurd has no time machine and it's not 1996. He now enters a field where the majority of the primary voters are far-right populists, Donald Trump is dominant, and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is waiting to pounce if the former president falters. And, of course, the Trump/DeSantis/Haley/Pence lane isn't even the one that Hurd is gunning for. No, he's gunning for a lane that already has Asa Hutchinson, Chris Christie and, to a greater or lesser extent, Miami mayor Francis Suarez.

There is a scenario where the Trumpers somehow split the majority of the vote, and a candidate in the anti-Trump Republican lane unifies the anti-Trump Republican vote and makes some real noise. Remember, most Republican primaries are winner-take-all or nearly so, so if there's a result that's 30% anti-Trump candidate, 25% Trumpy candidate, 20% Trumpy candidate, 15% Trumpy candidate, 10% other candidates, then the anti-Trump candidate would claim most or all of the delegates.

However, that sort of outcome requires a lot of things to break just right, and it's not going to happen if the non-Trump vote is split multiple ways, since the non-Trump vote is definitely in the minority among Republican primary voters. And even if a non-Trump candidate somehow does get something going, we think Christie is far more likely to be that person than Hurd is. We'd probably rank Hutchinson above Hurd, too, especially since Hurd is getting such a late start.

In short, Hurd isn't going to be the Republican nominee and he isn't going to be inaugurated as president on January 20, 2025. So, what's he after? Maybe the VP slot on a DeSantis ticket, though the Florida governor seems to want a female running mate, should he get the nomination. Alternatively, like so many of those folks, Hurd could be auditioning for a cushy gig at Fox or News Nation or CNN, or he could be trying to sell books, or he could just be interested in taking Trump down.

To that latter point, we will point out that it's somewhat unlikely Hurd would jump in unless he knew he had the financial backing to make a run at appearing on the debate stage on Aug. 15. A billionaire can't write checks directly to Hurd or his campaign, but if that billionaire is running a pro-Hurd super PAC, then that billionaire certainly knows what's needed for the candidate to qualify for the debates, even without any coordination between the PAC and the campaign. Put more specifically, Hurd is very much the type of candidate that meets the fancy of Charles Koch, so it wouldn't be too surprising if we learned that the surviving half of the Kochtopus, who hates Trump, is backing this bid. (Z)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates