Former congressman Will Hurd (R-Tex.), a critic of Donald Trump and a former CIA officer, announced a Republican presidential bid on Thursday, promising “common-sense leadership” as he joined a crowded field trying to outmaneuver the former president for the GOP nomination.

Hurd, 45, who announced his retirement from Congress ahead of the 2020 elections and enters the 2024 presidential field as a long shot, touted his experiences in and out of government in an announcement video. Hurd is the 12th major GOP candidate to join the presidential race.

“For the past 20 years, I’ve been on the front lines of the most pressing fights facing our nation,” Hurd said. “I hunted down terrorists in the Middle East after 9/11. In Congress, I fought to lower taxes, secure our border and provide more opportunities for the middle class. I’ve worked at the highest levels of business to harness technology and innovation for the future of America. These experiences have shown me that this moment, that this election has never mattered more.”

Hurd, who worked for a cybersecurity firm before joining Congress in 2015, also took aim at both President Biden and Trump as he ticked off challenges he says the country faces, including illegal immigration and inflation.

“President Biden can’t solve these problems — or won’t,” Hurd said. “And if we nominate a lawless, selfish, failed politician like Donald Trump — who lost the House, the Senate and the White House — we all know Joe Biden will win again.”

Trump continues to dominate the GOP field in polling, despite a growing array of legal challenges. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has consistently polled second, with the rest of the field far behind.

Hurd, who was regarded as a moderate Republican during his tenure in Congress, represented the 23rd Congressional District in Texas, which includes hundreds of miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.

He showed a willingness to work with Democrats and to break with his party on major issues — voting against repealing the Affordable Care Act and supporting universal background checks for gun purchases.

While more willing than most of his GOP colleagues to criticize Trump, Hurd voted in 2019 against both articles of impeachment against Trump accusing him of withholding military aid from Ukraine while he encouraged President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on Biden.

In an appearance Thursday on “CBS Mornings,” Hurd said Republicans need to be a party “that talks about the future, not the past.”

“We should be putting out a vision of how do we have unprecedented peace, how do we have a thriving economy, how do we make sure our kids have a world-class education, regardless of their age and location?” Hurd said. “We can do this. It’s hard. But here’s one thing I’ve learned: If we remember two things, we can pull this off. America is better together. Way more unites us than divides us.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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