Brandon Herrera, a YouTube influencer with a focus on firearms, has announced that he is challenging incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales for Texas’ congressional district 23 seat.

Herrera, who has over 2 million YouTube subscribers, had been hinting towards a congressional run for weeks on his YouTube channel. He previously made an appearance at a congressional hearing earlier this year after being invited by U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) to testify against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Congressional District 23 is a rural, majority-Hispanic area that encompasses western San Antonio and contains a large span of the Texas-Mexico border—including Uvalde, Eagle Pass, and El Paso county.

Herrera first announced his run at the Young Americans for Liberty conference and then in a YouTube video.

“Several Republicans who swore to defend gun rights, to protect borders, just in general, putting the rights and interests of the American people above their own, turn their back on these values,” Herrera said.

“There can be no more incumbent politicians who vote time and time again against the interests of the American people without fear of losing their positions,” he continued.

Herrera calls himself a “Second Amendment absolutist” and has repeatedly criticized Gonzales for being the sole Texas Republican member of the U.S. House to vote for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a Biden-backed law meant to enact stricter background checks for gun purchases.

In the announcement video, Herrera said he intends to focus his campaign on issues like “intrusive gun laws,” social media censorship, and border security.

Ahead of the primary, Gonzales’ campaign amassed $1.3 million in the first quarter and maintains significant financial backing, despite being censured by the Texas GOP in March for failing the party’s principles.

“Fool’s errand for anyone trying to run me,” Gonzales said.

Nevertheless, Herrera is joining a competitive primary, as former U.S. ICE Agent Victor Avila and Medina County GOP Chairwoman Julie Clark have also announced that they are running for Gonzales’ seat.

Gonzales’ campaign has not responded to Texas Scorecard’s request for comment.

The Texas Republican Primary will be held on March 5.

Valerie Muñoz

Valerie Muñoz is a native South Texan and student at Texas A&M University, where she studies journalism. She is passionate about delivering clear and comprehensive news to Texans.