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Brandon Herrera to request recount in primary runoff against U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-San Antonio, and his challenger in the GOP runoff, Brandon Herrera. Herrera lost the race and will ask for a recount.
The Texas Tribune
U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-San Antonio, and his challenger in the GOP runoff, Brandon Herrera. Herrera lost the race and will ask for a recount.

YouTuber Brandon Herrera will request a recount Friday in his Republican primary runoff election against U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales.

Herrera told The Texas Tribune he will request recounts in Bexar, El Paso, Medina and Uvalde counties after trailing Gonzales by 407 votes in a race that drew national attention as a fight between the more moderate and more conservative wings of the Republican party.

Last week, Herrera indicated he would accept the election results, posting that the close margin, despite running a campaign that was outfunded by Gonzales, was itself a major accomplishment.

However, Herrera told the Tribune that his campaign had expected to call a recount “from Day 1” because of the tight margin — about 1.4 percentage points.

“I don’t expect the results to change, but I feel I owe it to my volunteers, voters, and supporters to leave no stone unturned,” Herrera said in a statement.

Texas’ 23rd Congressional District is the state’s largest congressional district by land area, spanning 29 counties from West Texas to San Antonio and Eagle Pass. The recount requests target the three counties that cast the most votes in the runoff — Bexar, Medina and Uvalde counties, home to San Antonio, Hondo and Uvalde, respectively. The requests also target El Paso County, whose rural lands fall within the district.

According to unofficial election results, Gonzales carried Bexar County with 7,917 votes to Herrera’s 6,800 votes, Herrera carried Medina County with 2,215 votes to Gonzales’ 2,138 votes, Gonzales carried Uvalde County with 1,312 votes to Herrera’s 1,052 votes, and Herrera carried El Paso County with 382 votes to Gonzales’ 266 votes.

The race was Gonzales’ first since his censure by the Texas Republican Party in March last year for taking centrist stances that the more culturally conservative state party found objectionable.

Gonzales’ censure came after his opposition to a hardline U.S.-Mexico border bill by U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Austin, and his support for bipartisan gun safety legislation after the Robb Elementary shooting.

The censure opened Gonzales to primary challenges, and Herrera was endorsed by the Bexar County GOP and the campaign arm of the U.S. House Freedom Caucus. U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, was the first high-profile name to endorse Herrera, and brought him on stage during a speech at the Texas GOP Convention days before the runoff. U.S. House Republican leadership, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick backed Gonzales.

Herrera is known for this online persona, dubbed “the AK Guy,” and his irreverent sense of humor in YouTube videos and podcast appearances. His off-color online reputation was seen by some in his party as a liability, but it ended up a significant platform, allowing him to widely spread his message and fundraise hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“This isn’t the end. I’m not done fighting. There are plenty of other great Americans who need backup, and lots of places to make a difference,” Herrera posted on social media two days after election night. “I’m not backing down, this is just the end of this particular chapter. I’m not going anywhere.”


From the Texas Tribune