In response to his recent votes that caused the party to split, U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-San Antonio, was convicted by the Republican Party of Texas on Saturday. The censure resolution was approved by the State Republican Executive Committee 57-5, with one member abstaining. To pass, it required a three-fifths majority.
The action enables the party to forego the requirement to remain impartial in intraparty races for Gonzales’ upcoming primary. The state party criticized a member of its own in this manner just once before, in 2018, and it was Joe Straus, the state House Speaker at the time. Also, he was moderate from San Antonio.
Gonzales did not attend the SREC meeting, but on Thursday in San Antonio, he spoke about the matter following a separate press conference. In particular, he defended his support for the gun regulation that both parties passed last year in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting in his area. If the vote were to occur again today, he declared, “I would vote twice on it if I could.”
“The reality is I’ve taken almost 1,400 votes, and the bulk of those have been with the Republican Party,” Gonzales said.
The Gonzales campaign issued a statement criticizing the state party in response to the reprimand.
“Today, like every day, Congressman Tony Gonzales went to work on behalf of the people of TX-23. He talked to veterans, visited with Border Patrol agents, and met constituents in a county he flipped from blue to red. The Republican Party of Texas would be wise to follow his lead and do some actual work,” campaign spokesperson Evan Albertson said.
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SREC Quarterly Meeting
At the SREC’s quarterly meeting on Saturday in Austin, there was no open discussion over the censure. After spending approximately an hour in the executive session, the committee came back to vote on the proposal immediately.
The SREC, the state party’s 64-member governing council, is heavily conservative and comprises some of its most active activists.
Gonzales hasn’t drawn any serious primary opponents yet, but the criticism might encourage some to run. Following the censure, Gonzales received support from the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House Republicans’ political action committee.
“Congressman Gonzales is a valued member of the House majority, and we look forward to supporting his re-election,” NRCC spokesperson Delanie Bomar said in a statement.
Medina County, located west of San Antonio and a portion of Gonzales’ 23rd District, was the source of the initial censure resolution. It referenced both his vote for a statute codifying safeguards for same-sex marriage and his support for the bipartisan gun law that was approved last year.
John Lira tweeted on Texas-23 as a target of opportunity. You can see below:
This is not the time to paint Tony as a victim or "one of the good ones," but rather, it is time to paint Texas-23 as a target of opportunity.
His gun & gay marriage votes are anomalies in an otherwise generic Republican voting record. https://t.co/uT2xricdeI
— John Lira (@LiraForCongress) March 4, 2023
The motion also cited his vote against the House rules package in January and his opposition to a border security measure proposed by Austin-based Republican lawmaker Chip Roy, a fellow state representative from Texas.
Gonzales, the lone Republican from Texas, was one of just 14 Republicans to support the gun control legislation. He was the lone Republican to vote against the rules package. He has been the only one of the Texas Republicans to vehemently oppose Roy’s legislation, arguing that it would effectively eliminate asylum. Roy disputes that.