FederalGina Ortiz Jones Nominated to be U.S. Air Force Undersecretary

Gina Ortiz Jones, the former Democratic nominee in one of the state’s most competitive congressional districts, may be headed to a new role in the Pentagon.
April 28, 2021
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A year ago, many political pundits would have expected Gina Ortiz Jones to be elected to represent Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, seen as the most likely seat in Texas for Democrats to pick up from Republicans.

She didn’t win the election, but now with President Joe Biden in the White House, she has been nominated for a role in his administration to be the undersecretary of the Air Force.

Jones’ career has largely been spent in the national security sector, having worked as an intelligence officer in the Air Force and then later as the director for investment at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative under the Obama administration.

In 2018, Jones narrowly lost an election by less than 1,000 votes against Will Hurd, then the Republican incumbent of the large border district that stretches from San Antonio to El Paso.

The following year, Jones announced that she would be running for the seat again, but shortly thereafter, Hurd announced his retirement from Congress.

The Texan Tumbler

Jones spent $7 million throughout the 2019-2020 election cycle, more than twice the amount of her eventual Republican opponent, Tony Gonzales.

But in the 2020 election, Gonzales won the seat against Jones by a wider margin than his predecessor, with 51 percent compared to Jones’ 47 percent of the vote.

With border counties swinging more toward Republicans in recent years and the upcoming redistricting that will likely shore up GOP support in competitive seats, Jones’ chances of winning the seat are shrinking.

If her nomination is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Jones’ return to the Pentagon could signal her withdrawal from Texas politics for the foreseeable future.

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.