Will Hurd

Messing With Texas, Midterm Edition
In the Lone Star State, it’s not just about Beto and Cruz

A woman flies a Texas flag at a 2005 rally in the Upper Senate Park. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Yes, the Texas Senate race between Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke gets a 72-ounce steak’s worth of attention in politics, what with Willie Nelson and President Donald Trump weighing in with their preferences and all. 

But regardless of who emerges from that Texas two-step, several other races will go a long way toward determining the House majority, and whether the Lone Star State might be moving toward swing/purple status. 

D.C. Eatery Serves Pizza With a Side of Female Democrats for Congress
Pizza Paradiso has pizzas for Ortiz Jones, Ocasio-Cortez, Underwood and Sinema

Drew McCormick, left, and Ruth Gresser, right, researched Democratic female candidates who would be “firsts.” (Thomas McKinless/ CQ Roll Call)

Forget eating pizza. These politicians are becoming it.

At least that’s the vision of chef Ruth Gresser, who owns Pizzeria Paradiso in D.C. She’s celebrating a handful of female candidates this cycle with a mozzarella salute, complete with a beer pairing.

Chants of ‘We Want Cruz’ Fill DC Arena as Lobbyists Beat Lawmakers
Congressmen lose out again — in basketball, that is

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, left, passes to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who sets up for a shot. (Alex Gangitano/CQ Roll Call)

When his teammate made the steal, Sen. Ted Cruz was in position. He caught the pass. He missed the shot. 

But the Cruz fan base was loyal. A small voice from the crowd later yelled, “We want Cruz,” and the emcee took up the cry.

China Will Close Artificial Intelligence Gap by End of 2018, Lawmakers Warn
More spending on self-driving car research, predictive technology, will help U.S. compete, new report says

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, released a report encouraging  Congress to increase spending on artificial intelligence technology. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Artificial intelligence technologies are capable of disrupting every aspect of society and the United States must do more to maintain leadership in the area, the leaders of a House panel said in a report released Tuesday.

Artificial intelligence “has the potential to disrupt every sector of society in both anticipated and unanticipated ways,” according to a report authored by Reps. Will Hurd of Texas and Robin Kelly of Illinois, the chairman and top Democrat of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on information technology. “In light of that potential for disruption, it’s critical that the federal government address the different challenges posed by AI, including its current and future applications.”

Ocelots, Butterflies in Path of Border Wall
As DHS waives its way across Texas, Congress is rethinking a thirteen-year-old law

Barriers at the southern border hem in more than people, environmentalists say. Wildcats, tortoises and other animals can get trapped. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

When rains pushed the Rio Grande River to flood stage in 2010, an existing border wall acted as a flood barrier, protecting some lowlands but also trapping some animals. A 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Sierra Club noted the discovery after the flooding of shells from “hundreds” of Texas tortoise, which that state lists as a threatened species.

“Animals caught between the river and the flood wall that could not escape around the edges of the floodwalls likely perished,” said the report. Endangered species like the ocelot and jaguarundi, both small wildcats, also might have died, according to the report.

Cruz, O’Rourke Steal Spotlight, but House Races in Texas Are Heating Up Too
Democrats eye multiple pickup opportunities in Lone Star State

Democrats say energy around Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s Senate campaign could help their House candidates in Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Texas Senate race has been grabbing headlines lately, but Democrats hoping for good news in November from the Lone Star State might want to focus further down the ballot, where several contests could be critical to House control.

Both parties have ramped up their activities in a handful of competitive Texas districts, with the Republican and Democratic campaign committees launching television ads in key races last week.

Beto O’Rourke: Not Just Another Bassist From El Paso
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 36

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, puts on his tie as Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, speaks with reporters as they arrive at the Capitol just in time for votes on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. O'Rourke has turned heads with his competitive race against Sen. Ted Cruz, but his political ascent did not come out of nowhere. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Beto O’Rourke has gained rock star status as an insurgent liberal candidate running against the established Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, but, but, but, says Nathan L. Gonzales, Roll Call’s elections analyst and the publisher of Inside Elections, O’Rourke’s rise to national prominence did not happen overnight or come out of nowhere. 

Koch Network Endorses 8 GOP House Members in Competitive Races
Conservative megadonors have pivoted their political strategy, raised Trump’s ire

Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., is one of the House members who Americans for Prosperity announced it would support. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The political arm of the Koch conservative brothers’ network announced the House candidates it would support as it shifts its political strategy.

Americans for Prosperity named eight members of Congress in competitive races as its “policy champions.”

Chamber Defends GOP House Members in New Round of Ads
Business trade group is launching ads in four more House races

Reps. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, left, and French Hill, R-Ark., were both highlighted in new TV ads from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hitting the airwaves in four additional House races to defend Republicans in competitive contests.

The television ads, shared first with Roll Call, are part of a slate of positive issue spots boosting GOP incumbents in races from Maine to California. 

Gowdy Balks at Democrats’ Motion for Dan Coats to Testify in Public
Oversight chairman doesn’t want another political spectacle like Comey, Strzok hearings

Committee wanted to subpoena Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee spiked a motion Tuesday from Democrats to subpoena Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to testify publicly about Russia’s ongoing efforts to interfere in U.S. elections.

Their reason?