Moderate Republican Candidate Comes Out on Top in Vicious Runoff Race

( – The primary runoffs in the Lone Star State last week were ultimately a victory for Republicans, maintaining the party’s strong majority while demonstrating increasing divisions within the party between moderates and hardliners.

In a very close race, moderate GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales narrowly defeated social media influencer and gun rights enthusiast Brandon Herrera, who represents a more hardline faction of the political right in Texas. Many of Gonzales’s supporters warned him that winning against Herrera was crucial to stopping the West Texas district from possibly being flipped by Democrats in November.

Shortly after 1 AM on Wednesday, May 29th, Gonzalez was declared the victor, but his win required a major party mobilization and substantial outside funding.

Another victory by a razor-thin margin was achieved by Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, who beat challenger David Covey, even though former President Donald Trump backed Covey. Just after 9 PM on Tuesday, May 28th, Phelan declared his victory while Covey conceded. St. Edward’s University political science professor Dr. Brian Smith said it was “unheard of in Texas politics” to see an incumbent House speaker “going to a runoff” race.

The close races reflect turbulence amongst Republicans in the country’s largest red state, especially over the failed impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last year.

A clearer win did come in one of the northern open seats of District 12 as Texas Rep. Craig Goldman defeated John O’Shea, whose progress into the runoff after the primary in March defied the odds. Although Goldman outraised O’Shea by a great deal of $1.4 million, the Freedom Caucus-aligned opponent still managed to pull in over $236,000, much of which came from Trump-aligned donors, including Michael Flynn and Roger Stone.

The close races and rearrangement of seats in Texas reflects a larger division in the GOP at large, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out in November’s general election when the nation decides on the next president.

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