By Sally Beauvais and Carlos Morales
When Congressman Will Hurd announced his retirement last year, it set off a frenzy. The outgoing Republican represents Texas’ Congressional District 23, a swing district covering 29 counties in West and South Texas.
The open race has drawn some 15 Republicans and Democrats this primary who are hoping to get their party’s nomination.
In this breakdown of who’s running for CD23, we’ll take a look at top-earning Democrats and Republicans.
Click on the audio player above to listen to a conversation about the candidates and their views on three policy areas: healthcare, the border and gun control legislation.
Alma Arredondo- Lynch, R-Uvalde
This is the second time Alma Arredondo-Lynch has thrown her hat into the race for Congressional District 23. The culturally conservative Republican from Uvalde says she’s a pro-life Christian who represents the values of the district.
To Arredondo-Lynch, the residents of CD23 are more conservative than the last couple of election cycles have suggested. So she says she’s not aiming to attract voters who supported Rep. Hurd by running a more moderate campaign.
Tony Gonzalez, R-San Antonio
Tony Gonzales is a former navy cryptologist from San Antonio. He started out as a high school drop out, and then entered the military for 20 years. He’s now finishing up his doctorate and also has experience on capitol hill. The Republican recently served as a national security fellow for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Gonzales has received the backing of Rep. Hurd, which will bring a boost to his campaign — but the San Antonio hopeful states though that he’s his own politician. On Gonzalez’s website, he writes about promoting traditional family values and preserving the sanctity of life.
Gina Ortiz Jones, D-San Antonio
Out of every candidate in the race, both Republicans and Democrats, Gina Ortiz Jones has brought in the most money, nearly $2 million.
This is Jone’s second time running to represent the West Texas district. In 2018, when Jones first decided to run, she narrowly lost to Rep. Hurd by 926 votes. Jones, a first-generation American and former Air Force intelligence officer, says her experiences growing up in the Southside of San Antonio, in a single-parent household, in subsidized housing and reduced lunch were formative for her. Jones says, if elected, she’ll “protect those opportunities” that she benefited from.
Jaime Escuder, D-Alpine
Jaime Escuder is a trial lawyer in Alpine, where he’s lived for about four years now. Before moving to the Big Bend region, he was in Illinois for 10 years.
Although he’s certainly new to the CD23 race, Escuder is a familiar figure in local politics. A few years ago, he ran for district attorney and won the primary, but lost in the general election.
Escuder says he decided to run because he believes no one is campaigning seriously enough on immigration, healthcare and climate change.
Rosalinda Ramos Abuabara, D-San Antonio
Rosalinda Ramos Abuabara is an activist from San Antonio, where she’s kept track of local and state politics
She says when President Trump was elected in 2016, she became even more politically involved. Abuabara says she would pay weekly visits to Rep. Hurd’s San Antonio office to talk to him about his votes, but she never had any luck getting a meeting with the representative.
Abuabara—who had backed Gina Ortiz Jones in 2018— says she jumping in the race now because she doesn’t feel represented by any of her opponent’s platforms or by lawmakers at the state and federal levels.