The number of candidates vying to defeat U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales of San Antonio is growing, after he was officially censured by the Republican Party of Texas.
On Tuesday, former ICE special agent Victor Avila announced his intention to challenge Gonzales in the 2024 Republican primary for Congressional District 23, citing his failure to vote with congressional Republicans on key issues.
“The current congressman who represents much of the Texas-Mexico border actually worked against the Republican border security bill. Then he voted against legislation to protect conservative family values. And again, he voted to strip law-abiding Americans of the right to bear arms,” said Avila.
“We need a real Republican who has the courage to speak up and defend our conservative values and who is willing to work with Republican colleagues to fix our country,” he added.
I have dedicated my life to securing the US-Mexico border and protecting communities along the border and across the nation from the drugs and violence now pouring in each day. It has become clear that the heart of this fight is no longer at the border…
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— Victor Avila (@VictorAvilaTX) March 7, 2023
Avila has previously unsuccessfully run for land commissioner in 2022.
Last week, the State Republican Executive Committee censured Gonzales for showing a lack of fidelity to Republican principles and priorities.
The final vote by the SREC was 57 in favor and five opposed, with one abstention.
The censure means Gonzales will be subject to the full penalties prescribed by the rules of the Texas GOP, which include a prohibition on spending by the party in his race as well as authorization to spend up to 12 percent of the party’s general fund to educate voters in his district about the censure.
Avila joins Medina County GOP Chair Julia Clark, who announced her candidacy on Monday, with additional announcements expected soon.