Texas GOP censures Republican congressman for ‘lack of fidelity’ to party principles and priorities

Texas GOP censures Republican congressman for ‘lack of fidelity’ to party principles and priorities

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Originally Published: 04 MAR 23 15:00 ET

Updated: 04 MAR 23 17:32 ET

By Nicky Robertson, CNN

    (CNN) — Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas was censured Saturday by the state GOP for “for lack of fidelity to Republican principles and priorities,” the party announced.

The Texas Republican Party took issue with several House votes and stances by the second-term congressman, including his vote for the Respect for Marriage Act, his opposition to a GOP-led border security measure and the fact that he was the lone House Republican to vote against his conference’s rules package earlier this year.

Gonzales represents Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, which stretches along the US-Mexico border between El Paso and San Antonio. The district is home to Uvalde, where a mass shooting at an elementary school last year killed 19 children and two teachers. After the shooting, Gonzales voted in favor of bipartisan gun-safety legislation — another vote cited in the censure resolution.

Under the penalties imposed on Gonzales as a result of the censure, the state GOP is not permitted to spend on his behalf during a primary campaign and could fund a primary opponent. The party is also discouraging him from running as a Republican. The penalties would expire after a primary runoff, according to the state GOP.

In response to the censure, a Gonzales campaign spokesperson told CNN: “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.”

The House GOP campaign arm stressed its support for Gonzales following Saturday’s developments in Texas.

“Congressman Gonzales is a valued member of the House majority, and we look forward to supporting his re-election,” Delanie Bomar, regional press secretary at the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in an email. Gonzales served as a co-chair of the committee’s Young Guns program for top recruits in the last election cycle.

At Saturday’s censure vote, 57 members of the State Republican Executive Committee backed the motion, five voted against it and one abstained.

The censure resolution was originally bought by the Republican Party in Medina County, which is in Gonzales’ district. Fifteen other local party organizations in his district passed concurring resolutions.

Gonzales was first elected in 2020 to succeed retiring Republican Will Hurd. He easily won election to a second term in his Hispanic-majority district last fall.

The only other time the Texas GOP has voted to censure a Republican official was in 2018, when Texas House Speaker Joe Straus was censured, according to the state party.

This story has been updated with additional information and reaction.

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