Updated Mar 4, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Texas GOP censures Rep. Tony Gonzales over gun safety, gay marriage votes

Photo of Tony Gonzales walking down the House steps

Rep. Tony Gonzales walks down the House steps after votes on Jan. 12. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The Texas Republican Party voted Saturday to censure Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) in a rare move in response to his break from the GOP on several pieces of legislation.

Why it matters: Gonzales has voted against party lines several times since he was first elected in 2020, including for new gun safety laws following the Uvalde school shooting in his district.

  • Tensions reached a boiling point after his recent votes to codify same-sex marriage and oppose a border security bill proposed by fellow Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy.

Details: The Medina County GOP first censured Gonzales last month, accusing him of engaging in a "pattern of action demonstrably opposed" to the state party's principles and legislative priorities.

  • Fifteen other counties in Gonzales’ district have since passed resolutions concurring with the Medina County GOP, the Houston Chronicle reports.
  • A statement from the Texas GOP said Gonzales' censure marks only the second time the state party has censured a party member. The resolution passed 57-5 when voted on by the State Republican Executive Committee, with one member abstaining.
  • The resolution highlights several votes Gonzales made as a member of Congress that went against GOP principles, including voting against a rules package proposed by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The other side: "Today, like every day, Congressman Tony Gonzales went to work on behalf of the people of TX-23," campaign spokesperson Evan Albertson said in a statement to the Texas Tribune.

  • "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."

Worth noting: Gonzales said he has no regrets about his votes — especially the one on gun safety laws — earlier this week at an unrelated news conference, the Tribune notes.

  • "The reality is I’ve taken almost 1,400 votes, and the bulk of those have been with the Republican Party," he said.

The big picture: The censure, which requires a three-fifths vote among the 64 members of the State Republican Executive Committee, means Gonzales could face disciplinary action including an end to financial support for his campaign if he runs again in 2024, according to party rules.

  • Gonzales is also "discouraged from participating in the 2024 Republican Party Primary," the resolution says.
  • Gonzales, first elected in 2020, easily won re-election last November in his district, which is heavily Hispanic.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), however, reiterated its support for Gonzales on Saturday after the censure vote.

  • "Congressman Gonzales is a valued member of the House majority, and we look forward to supporting his re-election," NRCC Regional Press Secretary Delanie Bomar said in a statement.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to add statements from Gonzales and the NRCC.

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