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Texas GOP US Rep. Tony Gonzales heads to a runoff against Brandon Herrera

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican Rep.
FILE - Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, is seen before the flag-draped casket bearing the remains of Hershel W. "Woody" Williams lies in honor in the U.S. Capitol, July 14, 2022, in Washington. Texas has some competitive U.S. House races on the ballot in Tuesday's primaries. Along the Texas-Mexico border, U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales will face his first election since being sanctioned by his party. (Tom Williams/Pool photo via AP, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas, who drew a rare rebuke by his own state party last year over breaking with conservatives in Congress on key issues, was forced into a runoff from the right on Tuesday night against challenger Brandon Herrera.

The race was among the most closely watched House primaries in Texas, where U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee won the Democratic nomination, fending of a challenge months after losing a bid to become Houston’s mayor.

Along the Texas-Mexico border, U.S. Rep Monica De La Cruz won the Republican nomination and will face Democratic business owner Michelle Vallejo in November. The district is expected to be a target for Democrats in November.

Here's a closer look at the biggest congressional primaries in Texas:


The primary is Gonzales’ first campaign since the state party sanctioned him over a voting record that highlighted an independent streak. It included support for protecting same-sex marriage and new gun safety laws following the 2022 Uvalde school shooting in his district that left 21 people dead.

Herrera is a gun rights activist who produces YouTube videos. He was among four people challenging Gonzales in the GOP primary. A candidate needs to get more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff.

The runoff is May 28.

Herrera, a gun manufacturer whose family has ties to Texas, moved to the Lone Star state in 2020 due to frustrations with COVID-19 restrictions, according to his campaign site.

Immigration is a key issue in the district, which covers a long portion of the U.S.-Mexico border from El Paso to San Antonio. The district encompasses Eagle Pass, which has been thrust into a turf war between Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and President Joe Biden’s administration over immigration enforcement.

Gonzales, who is from San Antonio, was first elected in 2020.


Jackson Lee did not announce that she would seek reelection to her Houston district until December, after losing the mayor's race. John Whitmire, a veteran Democratic state lawmaker, defeated her in an upset to become mayor of the nation's fourth-largest city after Jackson Lee faced backlash over an unverified audio recording in which she purportedly berated staff members with a barrage of expletives.

In Tuesday's primary, she fended off a challenge in her heavily Democratic district from former Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards.

Edwards had dropped out of the mayor's race and decided to seek Jackson' Lee's seat when the longtime congresswoman announced her mayoral candidacy.

Jackson Lee has faced challengers only a handful of times in her nearly three-decade House career and defeated each definitively.


The Fort Worth-area 12th Congressional District is open for the first time in nearly 30 years after Granger announced in November that she would not seek reelection.

A crowded field included Texas state Rep. Craig Goldman and John O'Shea, a conservative former banker turned real estate developer and construction business owner, in the Republican primary. O'Shea has received support from GOP Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton because Goldman was among Republicans who voted to impeach Paxton last year.

Paxton narrowly survived allegations of corruption and abuse of office.


In Texas' Rio Grande Valley, Republican U.S. Rep. Monica De La Cruz won the Republican nomination in her bid to defend her competitive South Texas district.

De La Cruz will face business owner Michelle Vallejo, who the Democratic primary on Tuesday. Democrats are hoping to pick up the seat in November.

Immigration is also a central issue for the district, which stretches from the U.S.-Mexico border to a county east of San Antonio.


All references to U.S. Rep. Monica De La Cruz have been corrected to De La Cruz instead of de la Cruz or just Cruz.

Acacia Coronado, The Associated Press

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