Tony Gonzales
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 23rd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2021
Preceded byWill Hurd
Personal details
Born
Ernest Anthony Gonzales

(1980-10-10) October 10, 1980 (age 43)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseAngel Gonzales
Children6
EducationChaminade University (AA)
Excelsior College (BS)
American Public University (MA)
University of Southern Mississippi
WebsiteHouse website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1999–2019
RankMaster Chief Petty Officer
UnitCryptologic Technician
Battles/warsIraq War
War in Afghanistan

Ernest Anthony "Tony" Gonzales II[1] (born October 10, 1980)[2] is an American politician and United States Navy veteran who has served as the U.S. representative for Texas's 23rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives since 2021.[3] He is a member of the Republican Party.

Gonzales is considered a moderate Republican, having voted for proposals such as the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the Respect for Marriage Act. These votes resulted in a censure from the Texas Republican Party. He is also one of 18 Republicans who voted against Jim Jordan's nomination for Speaker of the House all three times, and only Republican to have voted against the House rules package afterwards.[4]

Gonzales votes have prompted several conservative primary challengers in 2024. Failing to receive a majority of the vote in the primary, Gonzales will face gun Youtuber Brandon Herrera in a runoff.[5][6]

Early life and education

Gonzales was raised in San Antonio, Devine, and Camp Wood, Texas.[7][8] He earned an Associate of Arts from Chaminade University, a Bachelor of Science from Excelsior College, a graduate certificate in legislative studies from Georgetown University, and a Master of Arts from American Public University.[2] He is in a PhD program at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he has specialized in international development, security studies, and international politics.[9]

Early career

From 1999 to 2019, Gonzales served in the United States Navy, retiring with the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer. A trained cryptologist, Gonzales was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also stationed in Tampa, Florida; Pensacola, Florida; Kāneʻohe Bay; and San Antonio, and assigned to the United States Navy Office of Legislative Affairs.[10][11]

Gonzales served as a Department of Defense fellow in the office of Senator Marco Rubio and also worked as an assistant professor of political science at the University of Maryland.[12][13]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2020

See also: 2020 United States House of Representatives elections in Texas § District 23

Gonzales ran for Texas's 23rd congressional district in the 2020 election. The seat was open, as three-term Republican incumbent Will Hurd did not seek reelection. In the Republican primary, Gonzales narrowly defeated Raul Reyes after a recount. During the primary, Gonzales was endorsed by Hurd and President Donald Trump.[14] In the November general election, Gonzales defeated Democratic nominee Gina Ortiz Jones.[15] The result was considered an upset, as most forecasters believed that the Democrats were favored to flip the district after Hurd announced his retirement.[16] Gonzales's term in office began on January 3, 2021.[17][18][19][20]

2022

See also: 2022 United States House of Representatives elections in Texas § District 23

Gonzales ran for reelection in 2022. Gonzales ran for re-election in 2022, winning his primary with 78% of the vote and the general election with 55.87% against Democrat John Lira and Independent candidate Frank Lopez Jr.

2024

See also: 2024 United States House of Representatives elections in Texas § District 23

2024 GOP primary results by county:
  30–40% Gonzales
  40–50% Gonzales
  50–60% Gonzales
  60–70% Gonzales

Gonzales is running for reelection in 2024. Facing conservative opposition over his votes in Congress, Gonzales garnered 45% of the vote in his primary, less than the 50% needed to avoid a runoff election. He will face gun rights activist Brandon Herrera in the runoff.

Tenure

Gonzales voted against impeaching Trump after the events of January 6, 2021, saying that the nation needed to heal and that he looked forward to working with President Biden to do that.[21]

Like all other Senate and House Republicans, Gonzales voted against the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.[22]

On November 5, 2021, Gonzales voted against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, along with all but thirteen House Republicans. He published a press release on November 6, 2021, saying, "Last night, I voted against the infrastructure bill as it will only lead to more spending for the Democrats and this flailing administration". The Bill was later signed into law by President Joe Biden on November 15, 2021. Gonzales later published a press release on his official government web site on January 24, 2022, attempting to take credit for the bill's $75 million investment in the San Antonio River Authorities West Side Creeks Ecosystem Restoration Project.[23][24]

On May 19, 2021, Gonzales was one of 35 Republicans to join all Democrats in voting to approve legislation to establish the January 6, 2021 commission meant to investigate the storming of the U.S. Capitol.[25]

On March 4, 2023, the Texas Republican Party's executive committee censured Gonzales for failing to vote in line with the party positions, citing his decision to support the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the Respect for Marriage Act (both in 2022) as well as his vote against a House rules packages passed after the contested 2023 Speaker election.[26] Conservative representatives such as Matt Gaetz and Bob Good have recruited and endorsed a primary challenger to Gonzales for the 2024 election, who Gonzales blasted during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union in April 2024, calling them "real scumbags" who "walk around with white hoods". This came after Gonzales voted in favor of three contentious foreign aid packages for Ukraine, Israel, and East Asia, all of which required bipartisan backing to move on.[27]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Party leadership

Political positions

Abortion

Gonzales describes himself as pro-life. He co-sponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2021 (H.R. 18), which aims to codify the Hyde Amendment banning federal funding for abortions.[33][34]

Cybersecurity

Gonzales has cited cybersecurity as "a top priority in Congress" and has supported increased funding for Texan infrastructure against acts of cyberterrorism or ransomware.[35]

Foreign policy

During the Russo-Ukrainian War, Gonzales signed a letter urging President Biden to give F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.[36]

Gun rights

Gonzales supported amending the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act to remove a proposed red flag law provision. He and other House Republicans signed a letter that argued the provision would infringe on Second Amendment rights and allow "military judges and magistrates to issue military court gun confiscation orders."[37]

After the Robb Elementary School shooting in Gonzales's Congressional district, Gonzales voted for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and cited his experience growing up in an abusive household (including an instance of his father threatening his mother with a gun) as his reason for supporting the act.[38]

Immigration

Gonzales supports keeping Title 42 expulsion in place and, along with Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra arguing that the removal of Title 42 would encourage illegal immigration at the southern border.[39][40]

In 2022, Gonzales argued that while the Remain in Mexico policy enacted by the Trump administration had flaws, it had been an effective strategy to prevent illegal immigration and asylum fraud and that repealing laws on illegal immigration and off-soil asylum processing had led to cases such as the trailer deaths in San Antonio earlier that year. In response to the repeal of the Remain in Mexico policy under Biden, Gonzales called for an increase in immigration judges to process asylum cases "in days, not years." He supports the expansion and simplification of work visas to reform legal immigration.[41][42]

Israel

Gonzales voted to support Israel following the 2023 Hamas attack on Israel.[43][44]

LGBT rights

On July 19, 2022, Gonzales and 46 other House Republicans voted for the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. It would require each state to recognize any marriage performed in another state, and codify same-sex marriage and Obergefell v. Hodges into federal law.[45][46] It was signed into law by President Biden on December 13, 2022.

Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023

Gonzales was among the 71 Republicans who voted against final passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 in the House.[47]

Personal life

Gonzales and his wife, Angel, have six children.[48] Angel served as the treasurer and custodian of records for Gonzales's campaign.[49] He is a Roman Catholic.[50]

Electoral history

2020 Texas's 23rd congressional district election[51]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tony Gonzales 149,395 50.6
Democratic Gina Ortiz Jones 137,693 46.6
Libertarian Beto Villela 8,369 2.8
Total votes 295,457 100
Republican hold
2022 Texas's 23rd congressional district election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tony Gonzales (incumbent) 116,649 55.8
Democratic John Lira 80,947 38.7
Independent Frank Lopez Jr. 11,180 5.3
Total votes 208,776 100.0
Republican hold

See also

References

  1. ^ "GONZALES, ERNEST ANTHONY TONY II - Candidate overview". FEC.gov.
  2. ^ a b Bernal, Rafael (November 30, 2020). "Rep.-elect Tony Gonzales (R-Texas-23)". The Hill. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  3. ^ Cochrane, Emily (November 4, 2020). "Tony Gonzales Defeats Gina Ortiz Jones, Keeping G.O.P. Hold on Texas House Seat". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  4. ^ "Moderate Republican Tony Gonzales fails to clinch GOP nomination, forced into runoff". Yahoo News. March 5, 2024. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  5. ^ Livingston, By Abby (June 24, 2022). "Texas congressman Tony Gonzales, who represents Uvalde, breaks with House Republicans to vote for gun bill". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  6. ^ "Gun YouTuber forces a runoff for Uvalde, Texas, congressional seat". NBC News. March 7, 2024. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  7. ^ "Tony Gonzales". NRCC Young Guns. September 11, 2019. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  8. ^ "Tony Gonzales has repeatedly perpetrated the false allegation that Gina Ortiz Jones doesn't live in Texas". ExpressNews.com. October 7, 2020. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  9. ^ "FDD | Tony Gonzales". FDD. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  10. ^ "San Antonio Navy vet sets his sights on Doggett's congressional seat". ExpressNews.com. July 31, 2019. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  11. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart.
  12. ^ "Tony Gonzales, Navy Information Operations Command N3 Operations Chief". www.militarycityusaradio.org. October 31, 2018. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  13. ^ "Tony Gonzales". Ballotpedia. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  14. ^ Svitek, Patrick (July 4, 2020). "Donald Trump endorses Tony Gonzales to replace U.S. Rep. Will Hurd". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  15. ^ Tracy, Gerald (November 3, 2020). "Tony Gonzales claims District 23 win, Gina Ortiz Jones calls it 'premature'". KABB. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  16. ^ "Tony Gonzales clinches House District 23 in surprise upset". November 4, 2020.
  17. ^ Svitek, Patrick (August 22, 2020). "After recount, Tony Gonzales is still winner of GOP runoff for U.S. Rep. Will Hurd's seat". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  18. ^ "Texas Election Results: 23rd Congressional District". The New York Times. November 3, 2020. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  19. ^ "Republican Gonzales gets early lead in TX-23". ExpressNews.com. November 4, 2020. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  20. ^ Tracy, Gerald (November 3, 2020). "Tony Gonzales pulling away as more votes start coming in". WOAI. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  21. ^ "Texas Congressman Tony Gonzales Votes Against Impeachment of President Trump". KSAT.com. January 13, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2023.
  22. ^ Carl Hulse (March 6, 2021). "After Stimulus Victory in Senate, Reality Sinks in: Bipartisanship Is Dead". New York Times.
  23. ^ Tony Gonzales (November 6, 2021). "Congressman Tony Gonzales Votes Against $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill".
  24. ^ Tony Gonzales (January 24, 2022). "Congressman Tony Gonzales Announces $75 Million For Westside Creek Restoration Project".
  25. ^ LeBlanc, Paul (May 19, 2021). "Here are the 35 House Republicans who voted for the January 6 commission". CNN. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  26. ^ "Texas GOP votes to censure Rep. Tony Gonzales over support on gun, same-sex legislation". March 4, 2023.
  27. ^ Lemon, Jason. "Republican's Stunning Condemnation of GOP Colleagues: 'Scumbags'". Newsweek. Retrieved April 21, 2024.
  28. ^ "Congressman Tony Gonzales Named to Appropriations Committee | Representative Tony Gonzales". gonzales.house.gov. January 14, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  29. ^ a b Gonzalez, Anthony (January 29, 2021). "Congressman Tony Gonzales Announces Subcommittee Assignments". U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  30. ^ "Congressman Tony Gonzales Joins Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus | Representative Tony Gonzales". gonzales.house.gov. January 21, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  31. ^ "Congressman Tony Gonzales Joins Republican Study Committee | Representative Tony Gonzales". gonzales.house.gov. January 26, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  32. ^ "Congressman Tony Gonzales Named Assistant Whip for House Republicans | Representative Tony Gonzales". gonzales.house.gov. January 15, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  33. ^ "H.R.18 - No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2021". Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  34. ^ "Pro-Life". April 27, 2021. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  35. ^ "Cybersecurity". January 18, 2022. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  36. ^ O'Brien, Connor (February 17, 2023). "Democrats, Republicans join up to urge Biden to send F-16s to Ukraine". Politico. Retrieved February 24, 2023.
  37. ^ "Congressman Tony Gonzales, House GOP Colleagues Urge Removal of Red Flag Law From NDAA". September 30, 2021. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  38. ^ "House Republican who represents Uvalde backs bipartisan gun safety bill". June 22, 2022. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  39. ^ "Cornyn, Cruz, Gonzales Lead Texas Delegation Letter Urging Biden to Keep Title 42 Given Record Border Crossings". Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  40. ^ "Why Title 42 is still necessary". May 20, 2022. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  41. ^ "Texas congressman says immigration reform should start with better work visa program". July 2, 2022. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  42. ^ "POLITICS Rep. Tony Gonzales Urges Congress to Pass Immigration Reform: 'It's the Right Thing to Do'". Newsweek. January 11, 2022. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  43. ^ Demirjian, Karoun (October 25, 2023). "House Declares Solidarity With Israel in First Legislation Under New Speaker". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 30, 2023.
  44. ^ Washington, U. S. Capitol Room H154; p:225-7000, DC 20515-6601 (October 25, 2023). "Roll Call 528 Roll Call 528, Bill Number: H. Res. 771, 118th Congress, 1st Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved October 30, 2023.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  45. ^ Schnell, Mychael (July 19, 2022). "These are the 47 House Republicans who voted for a bill protecting marriage equality". The Hill. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  46. ^ "Only 1 Texas Republican voted in favor of the Respect For Marriage Act protecting same-sex marriage". July 20, 2022. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  47. ^ Gans, Jared (May 31, 2023). "Republicans and Democrats who bucked party leaders by voting no". The Hill. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  48. ^ Dearman, Eleanor. "Congressman Will Hurd picks who he wants to replace him in 23rd District". El Paso Times. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  49. ^ "Form 1 for Tony Gonzales for Congress". docquery.fec.gov. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  50. ^ Liedl, Jonathan (November 18, 2020). "New Catholic Elected Officials Hope to Lead with Faith". National Catholic Register. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  51. ^ "Texas Election Results: 23rd Congressional District". New York Times. November 3, 2020. Retrieved May 2, 2021.