By Doina Chiacu
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Former U.S. Representative Will Hurd, a moderate who was once the sole Black Republican in Congress, on Thursday joined the crowded race to beat Donald Trump for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
Hurd, 45, announced his candidacy in a video and a Twitter post that stressed unity, the economy and equal opportunity for all Americans – and pulled no punches in taking on the former president.
“If we nominate a lawless, selfish, failed politician like Donald Trump – he lost the House, the Senate and the White House – we all know Joe Biden will win again,” Hurd said.
Painting a stark contrast to Trump, Hurd said his vision of America would acknowledge science, address mental health, and be inclusive and understanding.
“It’s not a given that this vision for America will happen, but it can if we focus on our timeless principles and limitless potential, not self-interest in politics,” Hurd said.
A former undercover CIA officer in the Middle East and South Asia, Hurd served on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee. He was first elected to Congress in 2014.
Hurd did not run for re-election in his southern Texas border district in 2020, saying he wanted to pursue opportunities outside Congress.
In 2019, he strongly criticized tweets by then-President Trump saying four progressive Democratic minority congresswomen, including one born in Somalia, should “go back” to where they came from.
“Those tweets are racist and xenophobic,” Hurd said at the time.
Trump remains the front-runner in the crowded field of Republicans aiming to unseat President Joe Biden, the likely Democratic candidate in 2024.
Hurd is the second Black candidate in the Republican race, joining U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.
He is the latest long-shot candidate to join a group that also includes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, and former Governors Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Chris Christie of New Jersey.
Since leaving Congress, Hurd has worked as a managing director at Allen & Company, a board member for OpenAI, and trustee of the German Marshall Fund, according to his website. He also has been a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
Hurd for America submitted a candidacy filing with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Jonathan Oatis)
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