Editor’s Note: This post was written by Nicolas Favreau, McKenzie Franck, and Michael Blumenthal.
After analyzing the two candidates, it is shown that Democrat and former Rep. Pete Gallego has the upper hand on his opponent, Republican incumbent Rep. Will Hurd. Our prediction is that Gallego will receive 49% of the vote with Hurd receiving 46%.
Due to Gallego’s Hispanic heritage, past experience in politics, and the change in voter ID laws, it gives him a greater chance of winning against the Texas’ 23rd Congressional District incumbent. With the current polls showing Hurd leading by about 2.1 %, the race is virtually a dead heat and Texas’s 23rd District is known as one of the most competitive districts. Hurd is also considered to have a good shot at this election due to his moderate stance and minority background, however, he only won by a small margin last election and it was most likely won due to the voter ID laws.
In 2012, when Gallego won the seat, there was no voter ID law in the state of Texas. However, when Gallego ran for re-election in 2014, there was a new law which required identification when going to vote. These laws normally affect the poor and minorities, which this district is mainly comprised of. Gallego was said to have lost mainly due to Texas’ SB14 law. However, Texas’ SB14 law was overturned in the past year, due to it being unconstitutional. In 2014, many Hispanics were discouraged from voting because of the SB14 law and now without it, Gallego is trying to inform as many as possible that there are no longer any of these barriers to keep them from voting. Because of this, more Hispanics and Latinos will be able to vote. They will most likely vote for Gallego because he has the same ethnicity as them. Gallego also is supportive of amnesty and had voted against a $694 million border bill in congress. They would also vote for Gallego because of his strong support of immigration. They will not vote for Hurd because his policies are more against immigration and against other things that would more likely hurt Hispanic and Latino communities.
While internal state factors have affected this election, outside factors, such as the presidential election, have also affected this district’s race. Within the presidential race, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is up by approximately 5.2%. Even though Hurd did not endorse Republican nominee Donald Trump for president, people are still associating Trump’s negativity with the Republican party. Overall, Trump has negatively hurt Hurd’s chances at winning because the things that Trump has said go against Hispanic’s beliefs. This overall benefits Gallego because he is a Democrat and his party has not been hurt by Trump’s negative statements.
Overall, this election will be a close one, but ultimately not as close as the last election cycle. While Hurd is up in current polls, he is only up by a few points. When you look at the voter ID law change, who supports what issues, and national factors, Gallego will be the most prominent choice for this election. The Hispanic and Latino votes will ultimately be the final say in who wins Texas’ 23rd Congressional District election because they are a majority of the population.