Democrats are ramping up efforts to challenge Texas Rep. Will Hurd, one of the most vulnerable incumbent Republicans in the House going into the 2020 election, hoping that Latino voters will help them unseat the moderate lawmaker and flip his battleground district.
In its first Spanish-language ad of the campaign cycle, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the fundraising arm of Democrats in the House, is looking to cast Hurd as a politician who touts himself as a centrist, but has failed to actively condemn President Trump's immigration agenda. The digital ad — which launched Wednesday — is expected to reach thousands of Spanish-speaking voters in Texas' 23rd Congressional District on Facebook and Instagram.
The ad cites an NBC News report that revealed an incident in which 37 migrant children were stuck in a van "under the blistering Texas sun" for hours. It asks in Spanish, "Why hasn't Congressman Will Hurd spoken up for immigrant children left in vans?"
"Texans are outraged by the Trump administration's cruel and inhumane policy of separating children from their families and there is a moral responsibility for elected officials to speak out when they see injustice across their communities," DCCC Texas senior adviser Roger Garza said in statement. "After 37 children were stuck in detention facility vans, Congressman Hurd should have spoken up. Instead, he hasn't said a word and people across Texas need to know that."
Although Democrats are expected to play defense and protect their majority in the House during the November 2020 elections, they are also targeting swing districts, especially those with large Latino communities like Hurd's, which they failed to flip in 2018. Nearly 65 percent of eligible voters in Texas' 23rd congressional district are Latino.
Hurd, a former CIA officer, has represented his sprawling border district in south Texas since he toppled a Democratic incumbent in 2014. He has been re-elected twice by razor thin margins in 2016 and 2018, when he bested Iraq war veteran Gina Ortiz Jones by less than 1,000 votes and became one of the few Republicans in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016 to survive the Democratic wave during the 2018 midterms.
The Texas Republican has often isolated himself from the president and criticized some of his immigration proposals, including the construction of a wall along the entire U.S.-border. He has also supported legislation to place young undocumented immigrants, dubbed DREAMers, on a pathway to U.S. citizenship.
Justin Hollis, a spokesperson's for Hurd's congressional campaign, denounced the ad commissioned by the DCCC.
"The Democrats have reached a new low by running nonsense ads against Congressman Hurd — the only member of Congress who has championed billions in humanitarian assistance and a solution to the border crisis," Hollis wrote in a statement to CBS News. "If this Washington-based group actually cared about migrants they should run ads against the Democrats who stopped Hurd's bills."