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Tony Gonzales primary challenge

House GOP conservatives galvanize against Tony Gonzales

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) is making more enemies ahead of his primary runoff next month against conservative social media influencer Brandon Herrera.

Hardline House GOP conservatives tell us they’re feeling a renewed sense of motivation to go after Gonzales after he called out Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good (R-Va.) on CNN this weekend. Gonzales referred to the two men as “scumbags” and bashed Good in particular for supporting Herrera, who he called a “neo-Nazi.”

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) is now planning to endorse Herrera and donate to his campaign. Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Mo.) said he’s considering doing so as well.

This comes just a day after Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) publicly said he’d back Herrera for Texas’s 23rd District following Gonzales’ criticism of his colleagues. Crane tweeted that Gonzales is a “complete and total RINO.”

Gaetz and Good have already endorsed Herrera. Gaetz, who has a close relationship with Herrera, held a rally for him in March.

Herrera told us that he was “honored” to receive Crane’s endorsement and that Gonzales’ aggressive rhetoric against conservatives will only help fuel his campaign. He added:

Gonzales’ campaign declined to comment.

Of course, Gonzales has been at odds with the party’s right flank for a while, splitting with conservatives on several high-profile issues. Gonzales backed a bipartisan gun control bill and supported federal protections for same-sex marriages. Some of those stances prompted Gonzales to be censured by the Texas Republican Party.

Gonzales also was a major opponent of HFC Policy Chair Chip Roy’s (R-Texas) hardline immigration proposals, which he called “un-Christian.”

And Gonzales helped block House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan’s (R-Ohio) bid for speaker last year. Jordan was conservatives’ top choice to succeed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Herrera said he’s planning another event with Gaetz ahead of the May 28 runoff election.

Herrera picked up about 24% of the vote in the March primary, which featured three other challengers to Gonzales. Gonzales received just over 45% of the vote, but he needed to clear 50% to avoid a runoff.

Herrera pointed to the support received by Gonzales’ other challengers as giving him a chance to win the runoff.

“We have incredible momentum,” Herrera claimed. “We were an underdog and only got a quarter of the vote, but everybody that voted for the other candidates were voting against Tony.”

We’ll note that Gonzales still has a hefty fundraising advantage over Herrera. By the end of March, Gonzales had a whopping $1.5 million of cash on hand, compared to Herrera who had a little over $300,000.

Gonzales will also get a boost from Speaker Mike Johnson at a lunchtime fundraiser today. We scooped Johnson’s appearance in Monday’s PM edition.

Also: Adam Morgan, who is running against Rep. William Timmons (R-S.C.), is expected to have raised $400,000 this cycle by the end of this week.

Gaetz will campaign for Morgan in Greenville tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. Morgan will also hold an event with former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Glenn Beck this week.

— Mica Soellner

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.