When a member of Congress is elected, they are expected to represent the interests of their constituents. Sometimes that involves going against the grain. That’s what one Republican representative in Texas did, and his colleagues are now expressing their unhappiness.
At a meeting of the State Republican Executive Committee on Saturday, March 4, the Republican Party of Texas agreed to censure Rep. Tony Gonzales (SREC). The 23rd Congressional District, which encompasses San Antonio and Uvalde, is represented by the moderate Republican legislator. The decision to censure Gonzales was based on five instances in which he deviated from the party position on “traditional marriage, second amendment [SIC] protections, maintaining freedom, and border security,” according to the party’s press statement.
Sixteen of the 29 counties in the 23rd Congressional District backed the resolution to impeach Gonzales. The final SREC vote was 57-5, with one abstention, against the congressman.
Gonzales did not show up to the meeting on Saturday. Instead, he spent the morning with war veterans before attending a Border Patrol function.
Great visit today with TX-23 BP agents at the Border Patrol Freedom Fest in Concan. Grateful for these hard working men and women that keep our communities safe. pic.twitter.com/1vMeOAYYB7— Rep. Tony Gonzales (@RepTonyGonzales) March 4, 2023
According to the Texas Tribune, the GOP was furious with Gonzales over a vote last year in the aftermath of the Uvalde school shooting, which killed 19 children and two teachers. Following the shooting, the legislator supported a bipartisan gun control package that enhanced background checks and enacted other steps. “If the vote was today,” Gonzales remarked, “I would vote twice on it if I could.”
Gonzales also backed a bipartisan bill to legalize same-sex marriages. The Texas Republican Party exclusively supports traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
The Texas Republicans last censured a member of its own party in 2018, against Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. Before now, it was the only time in history that the party formally disavowed one of its members. That politician was also from the San Antonio area. Straus vetoed a bathroom measure discriminating against transgender Texas out of concern for the economy.
Now that Gonzales has been censured, the party can participate in his next primary. Without it, the Texas GOP would have been forced to remain neutral.