Tony Gonzales emerges as the winner in closely contested Texas primary runoff

Republican Representative Tony Gonzales emerged as the victor in a closely contested runoff race on Tuesday. Gonzales, who narrowly defeated his GOP opponent, will now represent Texas’ district encompassing the cities of Uvalde and Eagle Pass. The margin of victory was incredibly thin, with only a few hundred votes separating the two candidates.

The Republican primary runoff election for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District has concluded, with Gonzales emerging as the projected winner, according to The Associated Press. Gonzales competed against Brandon Herrera, an activist and internet personality known for his YouTube channel “The AK Guy,” which showcases his gun testing and building videos.

The candidates are in a neck-and-neck race, with Gonzales currently leading by a small margin. According to unofficial election results from the Texas Secretary of State, Gonzales has secured 50.69% of the vote, equivalent to approximately 15,000 votes. Herrera is close behind with 49.31% of the vote, totaling around 14,600 votes. It’s worth noting that voter turnout for this runoff election was relatively low, which is a common trend.

Gonzales celebrated his victory with confidence, proudly declaring his win hours before it was officially projected.

In a heartfelt message, Gonzales expressed gratitude to the people of #TX23 for their unwavering trust and support. “The future of America shines with immense promise, and I am truly honored that you have chosen to believe in me,” Gonzales wrote on Tuesday night.

Herrera has the option to request a recount, given that the margin between the vote counts falls within the 10% threshold in accordance with Texas’ recount rules. However, it is important to note that Herrera would be responsible for covering the expenses associated with the recount. Only if the recount were to result in a change of outcome would Herrera be eligible for a reimbursement.

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Gonzales ended up in a tight runoff election after receiving just 45% of the vote in the Texas Republican primary on March 5. In Texas, when no candidate surpasses the majority threshold of 50% in local or state elections, a runoff election is held. Herrera, on the other hand, garnered approximately 25% of the vote during the initial round in March.

Gonzales, a Republican with moderate leanings, faced off against Herrera, a newcomer aligned with the more hard-line faction of the party, in the subsequent runoff.

Gonzales, a Republican representative who won the seat in 2020, has been under fire from both the state’s Republican Party and conservative critics for his support of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act gun control legislation in 2022. The legislation was passed by Congress following the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

Herrera heavily criticized Gonzales’ vote on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, focusing on his stance on gun ownership rights.

Gonzales has consistently stood by his record, particularly on border issues, and his measured stance on gun control legislation, including the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. When questioned on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday about whether he believes the vote ultimately led to the runoff, Gonzales acknowledged, “There’s a reason I’m in a runoff, and that vote played a part in it. I was aware of that at the time.”

During his campaign, the incumbent continued to receive robust support from the Republican establishment. Notable endorsements came from Speaker Mike Johnson, Rep. Elise Stefanik, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and other prominent state and national officials.

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Herrera garnered the endorsement of several influential Republican figures, including Representatives Matt Gaetz and Bob Good.

Gonzales had a significant fundraising advantage over Herrera, and he received more support from outside spending, including from super PACs that aired ads on TV and online. This information is based on financial filings from the previous cycle, both before and after the initial primary, as well as an analysis conducted by OpenSecrets.

Herrera portrayed the significant financial support for Gonzales as a reflection of his own growing momentum and Gonzales’ increasing desperation.

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