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Tony Gonzales
Rep. Tony Gonzales is facing off against challenger Brandon Herrera in a runoff next month. Mariam Zuhaib/AP

Mike Johnson Is Fundraising for Tony Gonzales, Making His Haters Even Angrier

Rep. Tony Gonzales criticized some of his conservative colleagues over the weekend. The speaker is fundraising for him anyway.

Speaker Mike Johnson fundraised for Rep. Tony Gonzales on Tuesday in a show of support that enraged some right-wing members of his conference.

The fundraiser in San Antonio comes days after Gonzales, who is facing a challenge from a far-right gun influencer in an upcoming primary runoff, attacked fellow Republicans on CNN. He called Rep. Matt Gaetz a “scumbag” and criticized Rep. Bob Good for endorsing Gonzales’ challenger, Brandon Herrera, whom he called “a known neo-Nazi.”

Gonzales was already on the bad side of some members of the House GOP. Gaetz and Good had previously endorsed Herrera in the May 28 runoff.

But Gonzales, a moderate Republican, has reliably voted with Johnson. The speaker, who has urged Republicans not to campaign with challengers to incumbents, is now returning the favor — and risking the ire of GOP members.

“I’m being attacked. Conservatives are being attacked,” Rep. Chip Roy, who has not endorsed anyone in the race, told KTSA on Tuesday while discussing the fundraiser. “Bob Good, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, is being attacked by Tony. He said that he’s a klansman. Yeah, I cannot tolerate what’s happening to the people that I think are standing up for this country.”

The fundraiser has already raked in nearly $300,000 in donations, according to Punchbowl, which first reported Johnson would attend. A source close to the Speaker’s office told NOTUS the fundraiser had been on Johnson’s schedule for a while.

Gaetz, who previously campaigned with Herrera, criticized the fundraiser on Tuesday.

“I have no problem with @SpeakerJohnson campaigning alongside Turncoat @RepTonyGonzales,” he wrote on X. “But why is this gathering just for donors willing to fork over the $300k Tony bragged about? I think all of #TX23 should be able to freely attend at least one of today’s Mike Johnson / Tony Gonzales festivities.”

Gonzales received 45% of the vote in the March 5 primary, missing the 50% threshold to avoid a runoff with Herrera, who finished in second place with 24% of the vote.

But Herrera has plenty of allies in the runoff. The three candidates who did not make the runoff have all endorsed him. Because the Texas GOP censured Gonzales in 2022, the state party, which typically doesn’t take sides in primaries, has sent out campaign mailers on Herrera’s behalf.

Gonzales’ comments over the weekend made a nasty race even nastier. “This is the death spiral ladies and gentlemen,” Herrera posted to X in response to Gonzales calling him a neo-Nazi.

He also criticized both Gonzales and Johnson for the fundraiser: “If Speaker Johnson is doing this for ‘party unity,’ then apparently Turncoat Tony didn’t get that memo… Pretty sure District 23 would much rather have Matt Gaetz or Bob Good over Tony any day.”

Rep. Eli Crane announced his endorsement for Herrera after Gonzales’ comments. “This is such BS and so pathetic, especially from a fellow veteran,” he wrote on X. “To insinuate that other members are klansmen because they call you out for being a complete and total Rhino. Wasn’t one of our core values Honor @TonyGonzales4TX? Hey Brandon, add me to your list of endorsements.”

Ryan Hernández is a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow.