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Will Support for Gun Control Derail Republican Congressman in TX-23 Primary? Follow the Results Here.

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The bruising primary fight between Rep. Tony Gonzales and challenger Brandon Herrera is over, but the repercussions could resonate in Texas’s 23rd Congressional District for months to come. 

Gonzales has been rebuked by the Texas GOP for voting in favor of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which is also one of the primary reasons why Herrera chose to challenge the incumbent, but establishment Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Mike Johnson, have ignored that vote while rallying behind the two-term congressman. As we reported over the weekend, Matthew McConaughey has even given his support to Gonzales in the form of a robocall to TX-23 voters, rewarding the incumbent for his support for the first federal gun control bill to be signed into law in several decades. 

Herrera, meanwhile, has garnered the endorsements of Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Bob Good, which led Gonzales to lash out during a CNN appearance. Gonzales referred to “scumbags” in the GOP caucus, and insinuated that Good was a member of the Ku Klux Klan while also slurring Herrera as a “neo-Nazi”. On Tuesday, Rep. Chip Roy also bucked the party establishment by endorsing Herrera’s bid to unseat Gonzales. 

Herrera’s popular YouTube channel has provided plenty of fodder for Gonzales to use to attack his challenger. The “neo-Nazi” charge is based on Herrera’s irreverent review of the MP40 submachine gun, which Herrera described as “the original ghetto blaster”. Since Gonzales began highlighting the video, he’s seen a surge in independent campaign expenditures directed his way and against Herrera.

The primary runoff has drawn over $5 million in ad spending, according to AdImpact, with groups like the Republican Jewish Coalition Victory Fund, the American Action Network (a nonprofit aligned with House GOP leadership) and the Hispanic Leadership Alliance collectively spending millions to defend Gonzales.

Sam Markstein, the communications director for the RJC, told NBC News that the group views Gonzales as a “workhorse” in Congress and called Herrera “crazy.”

Herrera’s campaign has spent just over $700,000 on ads in the district since the primary, touting himself as a “gun rights advocate” and an ally of former President Donald Trump. He’s also attacked Gonzales for “[putting] American last.”

Interestingly, both the NRA and Donald Trump have remained on the sidelines of the TX-23 primary fight. Trump has declined to issue an endorsement in TX-23, though he did announce his support for Bob Good’s primary opponent in VA-05 on Tuesday. The only endorsement from the NRA in today’s Texas runoff elections, meanwhile, is Rep. Craig Goldman, who currently serves as the congressman from TX-12. 

There’s been virtually no public polling in TX-23 since the original primary ended without a clear victor, and while the establishment has largely rallied around Gonzales I don’t think an upset by Herrera is out of the question. We’ll have a complete wrapup and thoughts on the results tomorrow morning, but you can get results as they come in using the DDHQ widget below. Polls close at 7 p.m. Central, and expect the first returns to come in a few minutes later. 

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