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Hurd listens to testimony about 'deepfakes' on June 13, 2019. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.) announced on Thursday that he will not seek reelection in his swing district.

Why it matters: Hurd is the only black Republican in the House, and the third Texas Republican to retire this week. He has been known to occasionally criticize President Trump, most recently over the president's racist tweets against 4 Democratic congresswomen of color, per the Washington Post.

  • Hurd's former district includes 820 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border, making him the only GOP member of Congress to represent the southern border. He denounced Trump’s border wall proposition, describing it as a “third-century solution to a 21st-century problem,” according to the Post.

What's next: Hurd intends to move forward in his career to "solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security." He has been a longtime advocate of using technology to advance national security, including AI, quantum computing and cybersecurity.

  • Our thought bubble, per Axios' Joe Uchill: This leaves a gap in nuts and bolts tech understanding that the House already lacks.

His departure is the ninth by a Republican incumbent, heightening the stakes for the GOP to recapture control of the House in 2020.

Go deeper: Rep. Martha Roby won't seek re-election, as GOP faces dwindling number of women in the House

Go deeper

6 mins ago - World

COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming

Recreated from Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

South Africa alerted the world to the Omicron variant. Now data out of South Africa may serve as a warning of what we're facing.

Driving the news: South Africa recorded 11,535 new cases Thursday with 22.4% of tests coming back positive — up from an average of about 300 new cases, with a 2% test positivity rate 10 days earlier. The country's top public health officials expect that exponential rise to continue as Omicron rapidly becomes the dominant variant.

BuzzFeed to go public, after shareholders approve SPAC deal

Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed is set to become publicly traded on Monday, after shareholders of a SPAC called 890 Fifth Avenue Partners voted to approve a previously-announced merger.

Yes, but: The vast majority of the money the SPAC raised in January was yanked, a signal that investors aren't very optimistic about BuzzFeed's future prospects.

Omicron cases confirmed in 4 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Five cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant were detected in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday, making New York the fourth state with confirmed cases.

The latest: In addition to New York, the variant has been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.