Will Hurd Launches His ‘Dark Horse’ Presidential Bid

Will Hurd at the Marcelino Serna Port of Entry Naming Ceremony on the U.S. border with Mexico in Tornillo, Texas on April 19, 2017. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Happy Friday! We’re having flashbacks to high-school social drama—or maybe just the movie Mean Girls—after reading this morning’s Politico story about attempts to purge members from the House Freedom Caucus.

Up to Speed

  • Could another Florida man be entering the Republican race for president? The New York Times reported Thursday that Sen. Rick Scott is “considering” getting into the race, citing two people “familiar with the discussions.” Scott and his political team have disputed that the 70-year-old Republican is doing anything other than running for another term in the Senate in 2024. “What’s accurate is I’m running for the Senate, I’m not running for president,” Scott told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon.
  • In testimony released by the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday, the lead IRS investigator into Hunter Biden’s tax fraud case said the agency had obtained a threatening text message sent by Hunter in 2017 to a Chinese business partner. In the message, Hunter claimed to be sitting next to his father, who by then was no longer vice president—a fact that, if true, would undermine President Joe Biden’s claim that he knew nothing of his son’s business dealings with foreign nationals. Hunter agreed to a plea deal with the Department of Justice earlier this week on charges of tax fraud that will allow him to avoid prosecution on a felony gun charge.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat, was censured by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The censure resolution, which passed along party lines 213-209 with 6 Republicans voting present, accused Schiff of “abusing his privileged access to classified information” and “purposely deceiving” Congress about Russian connections to the 2016 Trump campaign. An embarrassing, if partisan, formal reprimand like this may end up helping Schiff, who is running in a competitive race for California’s Senate seat next year against multiple other Democrats. 
  • A year ago tomorrow, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. A new NBC News poll found that 61 percent of voters disapprove of Dobbs, which overturned the nationwide legality of abortion set by Roe v Wade—a slight uptick from the 58 percent who said they disapproved in the same poll 2 months after the Dobbs decision, in August 2022. The partisan breakdown is instructive as well, with 60 percent of independents and even 31 percent of Republicans saying they disapprove of the decision. And one key constituency the GOP says it wants to win back, suburban women, remains overwhelmingly opposed to Dobbs, at 66 percent.

Will Hurd Joins the Race, Expanding the GOP Field (Again)

Will Hurd is one of many Republicans who say they worry nominating Donald Trump is tantamount to sealing President Joe Biden’s reelection. That assessment did not stop the former Texas congressman from launching a longshot White House bid that threatens to further divide the GOP electorate and propel Trump to victory in the primary.  

“I am a dark horse and I recognize that,” Hurd told The Dispatch Thursday morning in a telephone interview, immediately after revealing his 2024 plans. “Debate is a good thing; options are a good thing. We shouldn’t be afraid of having a diversity of voices.” 

Hurd, 45, began his campaign with a blistering attack on Trump, the undisputed Republican frontrunner, joining other candidates—former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Vice President Mike Pence—who also entered the GOP contest this month and did the same. But just as they did, Hurd rejects the premise that his candidacy dilutes the anti-Trump vote and helps guarantee the former president’s nomination.

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