Matt Gaetz campaigns against fellow House Republican, despite leadership pleas not to

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) campaigned with a primary challenger to Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) on Thursday, disregarding calls from party leadership for GOP unity.

Gaetz was in Texas for an event with Brandon Herrera, a pro-gun social media influencer who forced Gonzales into a primary runoff earlier this month.

He did so despite leadership pleas to avoid messy infighting. Gaetz went so far as to quote a post from Axios about these entreaties, directing attention instead to opposition from some Republicans to Ukraine aid. “In other news — Grassroots Republicans plead with House GOP leaders to stop sending money to Ukraine,” Gaetz wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

The Florida Republican has already offered his support to several other ultra-conservatives challenging the candidates favored by party leadership — including an opponent of Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), whose primary is on Tuesday.

Gaetz has long been a thorn in leadership’s side, leading the efforts to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The more moderate Gonzales was censured by the Texas GOP last year for his support for a bipartisan gun safety measure, among other things.

The runoff between Gonzales and Herrera will take place on May 28. The winner of the primary will be the favorite in November.


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