Tight Texas Primary Run-Offs Set the Stage for November Elections

Republican Jay Furman won the nomination for Texas' 28th congressional district, facing Democrat Henry Cuellar in November, who is entangled in a legal scandal. The election dynamics are further complicated by a primary run-off between Tony Gonzales and far-right challenger Brandon Herrera, highlighting deep ideological divides within the Republican Party.

Reuters | Updated: 29-05-2024 07:18 IST | Created: 29-05-2024 07:18 IST
Tight Texas Primary Run-Offs Set the Stage for November Elections

Republican Jay Furman will face Democratic U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar in the November general election, after defeating Texas rancher Lazaro Garza on Tuesday in a party primary run-off election. Furman, a military veteran, won the Republican nomination for Texas' 28th congressional district, according to the Associated Press. He led Garza by an overwhelming 64% to 36% with 45% of votes counted.

Cuellar and his wife were indicted on federal charges accusing them of accepting bribes meant to benefit an Azerbaijani state-owned energy company and a bank based in Mexico. They have denied wrongdoing. Cuellar ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, and the district had not been considered a top target for Republicans. But the court case could play a role in the November election.

In another Texas primary run-off, Republican U.S. Representative Tony Gonzales sought to fend off a far-right challenge from Brandon Herrera. Herrera is a gun rights YouTube celebrity known as "The AK Guy" because of his enthusiasm for assault rifles and is backed by hardline conservatives who have clashed with Gonzales over the U.S.-Mexico border, gun safety and same-sex marriage.

With 54% of votes counted, Gonzales led Herrera by 54.9% to 45.1%. Gonzalez was forced into the run-off after failing to win outright in the state's March primary elections.

The winner will face Democrat Santos Limon in the Nov. 5 election for a congressional seat seen as solidly Republican by independent political analysts. House Republican hardliners, including Representative Matt Gaetz and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good, have backed Herrera in hopes of punishing Gonzales and adding to their ultraconservative faction in Congress.

With a district that runs from San Antonio to El Paso, Gonzales has angered conservatives at home and in Washington by supporting bipartisan gun safety legislation after a 2022 school shooting in his district that left 22 people, including 19 students, dead at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. He has also drawn hardline criticism for backing legislation recognizing same-sex and interracial marriages and for supporting U.S. aid to Ukraine.

Republicans hold a narrow 217-213 majority in the House, allowing even small numbers of party hardliners to cause headaches for Speaker Mike Johnson. Control of both chambers of Congress, as well as the White House, will be up for grabs in November's election. Gonzales, a two-term congressman, has positioned himself as a pragmatic Republican intent on building bridges. He has also proved to be a successful fundraiser, collecting nearly $4.5 million for his reelection campaign. He had more than $900,000 in cash on hand as of May 8, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Herrera, who has a 3.4 million-viewer YouTube channel, has referred to Gonzales as "Turncoat Tony." He raised just under $1.4 million for his campaign and had $147,000 in cash on hand as of May 8. A 20-year U.S. Navy veteran, Gonzales showed no sign of being intimidated by his opponent, his backers or a 2023 censure by the Republican Party of Texas.

"It's my absolute honor to be in Congress. But I serve with some real scumbags," Gonzales told CNN last month.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Give Feedback