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Gonzales calls Herrera a 'neo-Nazi'

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) again called his primary opponent a “neo-Nazi” on Sunday as he prepares for a close runoff election Tuesday that has divided the GOP.

The two-term border district congressman fought back against members of his party who have backed his primary rival, social media influencer Brandon Herrera. Neither candidate won a majority of the vote in a March runoff election, leading to Tuesday’s primary.

“Are we going to be the party that governs and gets things done in a conservative manner?” Gonzales told CNN on Sunday. “Or are we going to be the party that has jesters that come up here and say wild and crazy outrageous things and just try to burn the place down?” 

Herrera operates a successful YouTube channel focusing on firearms content. He has a history of making jokes about Nazis and the Holocaust on the channel, hence the “neo-Nazi” attack.

Right-wing members of the GOP have rallied around Herrera, who has garnered endorsements from Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Bob Good (R-Va.). Gonzales is himself backed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R). 

The party infighting centers on gun rights, with Herrera consistently hitting Gonzales over his support of a bipartisan gun control bill proposed after the 2022 Uvalde, Texas, school shooting, in which 21 people were killed. Uvalde is inside Gonzales’s district.

The Texas GOP censured Gonzales over his vote. He defended his decision to support the bill.

“Something has to change,” Gonzales said, referring to the prevalence of bulletproof vests for students and other concerns related to school shootings. “It’s unfair.” 

“Overall, people are angry, and they’re angry for a reason,” he said of voters. “But are they going to be angry and then they want to see outrage by setting stuff on fire? Or are we going to help quell that anger by delivering results? That is what’s at stake, not only in this race, but … other races across the country.” 

In response to Gaetz and Good’s endorsement of his opponent, Gonzales said he would do the same to them.

“I plan to spend a lot of time in Pensacola,” he said, referring to Gaetz’s district. “I plan to spend a lot of time in Virginia and some of these other places. So I think my race is only the beginning, right? You can send everything you got at me. You’re never going to beat me, right? You’re just not.” 

The primary race is one of the most expensive in the country, with more than $9 million spent so far on the race between both campaigns and outside groups, according to Federal Election Commission data collected by OpenSecrets.

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