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US Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas successfully defends his position against a challenge from a gun-rights activist in the GOP runoff

Supporters for the State House District (Via Benjamin Walsh/Shutterstock)

Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas narrowly won his primary election on Tuesday against a gun-rights activist who posed a strong challenge, risking the potential removal of an incumbent from the U.S. House.

Another prominent Texas Republican, state House Speaker Dade Phelan, also narrowly defeated a challenger supported by President Donald Trump, highlighting divisions within the party in Texas over recent votes and political decisions.

Gonzales defeated Brandon Herrera, known as “The AK Guy” on social media, who criticized him for positions that upset the far-right wing of the Texas GOP. Gonzales’ supporters had warned that losing the primary could pave the way for Democrats to contest the district in November’s general election.

David Covey talks with the media (Via Benjamin Walsh/Shutterstock)

 

During the campaign, Herrera attacked Gonzales for backing a gun-safety bill following the Uvalde school shooting in his district in 2022, as well as for his stance on strict immigration proposals. Gonzales, viewed by some as more moderate within his party, publicly criticized some of his conservative colleagues in Congress.

In 2023, Gonzales faced censure from the Texas Republican Party for supporting federal protections for same-sex marriage and a bipartisan gun-safety measure after the Uvalde tragedy. Despite these controversies, Gonzales received endorsements from key figures like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and garnered substantial fundraising support, including a fundraiser attended by Speaker Mike Johnson.

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