2016 Texas congressional race is already called a tossup

U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes
U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes AP

It’s not just the presidential race that’s in play next year.

The stakes are also high in the House and Senate, especially for Democrats, who are hoping to retake the Senate after losing it in 2014 and are also eyeing the House, though the odds are longer there.

All of which brings attention to one U.S. House district in Texas — District 23. It was won by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, in 2014 but is already rated a tossup by big-name political experts Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, and Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report.

It is one of only 12 GOP-held seats considered competitive. Republicans have 25 of 36 Texas congressional seats.

Hurd, one of two African-American Republicans in the House, is a former CIA operative. He has generated a lot of attention but is in a predominantly Latino district that stretches from the suburbs of San Antonio to El Paso.

He faces a rematch with former Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, who held the seat for one term and has been running hard since April to recapture it. Texas Democrats and the national party are placing a premium on winning back the district.

“This race is a must-win for Texas Democrats,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio.

Republicans are equally determined to hold onto it.

Moving on

Ana Yáñez-Correa, who has been executive director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition since 2005, is leaving that post.

Yáñez-Correa will become program officer at the Public Welfare Foundation in Washington, D.C., as of Nov. 2.

“We are thrilled to bring Ana on board,” said Mary E. McClymont, the foundation’s president. “She will be a wonderful asset to the foundation as we continue to bolster the important work of criminal justice reform organizations in significantly reducing incarceration across the country.”

Leah Pinney has been named executive director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition.

Maria Recio, 202-383-6103

Twitter: @maria_e_recio

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley