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Rep. Tony Gonzales

What to expect ahead of Gonzales-Herrera primary runoff

House conservatives fixated on ousting Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) are sensing that Tuesday’s primary runoff is their moment to pounce.

After failing to crack 50% in the March primary, Gonzales is now stuck in a runoff with pro-gun rights YouTuber Brandon Herrera. Some of Gonzales’ Texas colleagues are concerned that because of the low-turnout nature of the primary runoff, Gonzales’ political future is at risk.

Others say Gonzales is fine and has been working hard to ensure a victory today. Here’s the view on the race from Capitol Hill:

Gonzales in danger: Some Texas Republicans warned that going to a runoff in the Lone Star State is dangerous territory for incumbents.

“Sometimes the second place guy in the original race sometimes gets more votes than the guy who won the original one,” Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) told us. “That’s always been kind of historical.”

Gonzales has also made some enemies in his own conference, especially among the right flank who he has publicly criticized.

House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good (R-Va.) and Reps. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) have endorsed Herrera.

“It’s always been close with [Gonzales] out there,” Norman told us. “This guy [Herrera] is a serious challenger if anyone can beat him.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said he has stayed out of primaries. But Roy didn’t rule out getting involved in this race because of Gonzales’s critical comments about his colleagues.

“If you attack my friends and make these broad-brush statements, I think that’s highly concerning,” Roy told us.

Gonzales’ allies: It’s clear that Gonzales has a lot more allies than enemies in Congress.

Speaker Mike Johnson held a fundraiser for him in April. Other House members also say they have Gonzales’s back.

“I’m confident he’s going to pull ahead and he’s going to win his runoff,” Rep. Monica De La Cruz (R-Texas) told us. “What the people in D.C. fail to see is Tony is actually working in his district and is very active and visible in his district.”

Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Texas) said he was angered by his colleagues going after Gonzales. Ellzey said the trend of incumbents seeking to knock off other incumbents is divisive.

“We’re not supposed to do that,” Ellzey told us. “At a time when our majority is thinning, we just don’t do that. If you’re on a team, I consider us to be on the team.”

We’ll note, of course, that Gonzales continues to have a significant fundraising advantage over Herrera and has been hammering out several ads in recent weeks.

We’ll keep you posted on these results.

— Mica Soellner and Max Cohen

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