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Rep. Tony Gonzales

Gonzales narrowly beats back hardline primary challenger

Texas GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales narrowly turned back a challenge from a social media celebrity in a race viewed as a battle between the insurgent right versus the GOP establishment.

Gonzales beat Brandon Herrera in the runoff 50.7%-49.3%. The margin was 407 votes, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office.

A narrow victory like this should serve as a warning sign for Gonzales that he has work to do with his party’s right flank. He’s been incredibly critical of GOP hardliners, calling Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) a scumbag and saying that Herrera was a “known neo-Nazi.”

Herrera got endorsements from Gaetz and Reps. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) and Chip Roy (R-Texas), who represents a neighboring district and has long feuded with Gonzales.

Gonzales’ district runs from San Antonio to the Texas-Mexico border and is one of the largest in the United States.

The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter rates the seat as solid Republican. Former President Donald Trump won by seven points in 2020 and Gonzales beat his Democratic challenger by 17 points.

Also: Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan won his primary, beating back a challenger supported by Trump. Read more from the Texas Tribune.

— Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan

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