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Hardliners Face Setbacks in Two Texas Congressional Runoffs

State of the Union: Tony Gonzales narrowly defeats Brandon Herrera, Goldman defeats O’Shea by a large margin.

Conservative congressional candidates in the 23rd and 12th congressional districts of Texas faced defeats in their May 29th primaries, with 23rd district challenger Brandon Herrera losing to incumbent Tony Gonzales by only 407 votes.

Incumbent Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Tex.), who has drawn opposition from conservatives for his support of same-sex marriage and gun control, narrowly defeated Herrera by 407 votes, or 50.7% to 49.3%. Herrera, better known as “AK Guy” on YouTube, where he has over 3.2 million subscribers, leveraged his fame to campaign against Gonzales in the 23rd congressional district primary. Gonzales won support from both Governor Greg Abbott and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson in a district which went for Trump by 7 points in 2020

In the 12th district, Republican State Rep. Craig Goldman defeated populist business owner John O’Shea. Goldman is a strong supporter of foreign aid to Ukraine, while O’Shea opposes new funding. Goldman also backed Speaker of the Texas House Dade Phelan in his efforts to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton. Paxton broke for O’Shea while Abbott endorsed Goldman. 

In the race for the 28th congressional district, retired naval officer Jay Furman won the nomination. That district is currently held by Democrat Henry Cuellar, who is under indictment for taking bribes from an Azerbaijani energy company.

This may provide a silver lining for Texas conservatives as Furman is an immigration restrictionist, an opponent of vaccine mandates, and a critic of current aid to Ukraine.