“Watch Tony Gonzales, Gina Ortiz Jones debate as they vie to replace U.S. Rep. Will Hurd” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
Drawn to be Texas’ only true swing congressional district, the 23rd District has a history of close contests.
In 2018, the average Republican statewide candidate got 48.9% in the district, while Democratic statewide nominees averaged 49.3%. That same year, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd — the Republican incumbent — beat Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones by 926 votes, or by 0.44 of a percentage point.
Hurd’s seat is one of Democrats’ best pickup opportunities nationwide this fall, and Jones is again representing the party in the race. The former Air Force intelligence officer filed to run before Hurd announced his plans last year to retire from Congress. Jones won the Democratic primary outright in March.
Republican Tony Gonzales, who served nearly 20 years in the Navy as a cryptologist, has the support of Hurd and President Donald Trump. Gonzales finished first in a nine-way primary but failed to get more than 50% of the vote. He advanced to a July runoff with Raul Reyes that ended in a late-summer recount won by Gonzales.
Gonzales and Jones sat down with us for virtual interviews in the first half of September for our “Split Decision” debate series. The pair discussed issues important to CD-23, which stretches from western San Antonio to just outside of El Paso.
Watch as the two weigh in on the economy, campaigning during the pandemic and the best way forward for Fort Hood after a string of deaths.
Correction: The summary of this video gave an incorrect timeline for when Gina Ortiz Jones became a 2020 candidate for the 23rd Congressional District. Jones filed to run before U.S. Rep. Will Hurd announced his retirement, not after.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2020/10/02/gina-ortiz-jones-tony-gonzales-cd-23/.