The Texas Capitol
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A series of primary races in Texas is set to illustrate the present and potential future of the Republican party, with some of them being pitting old guard members against activists vying to make way for a more conservative wing.

One of them is the race between state House Speaker Dade Phelan and conservative activist David Covey, who has the backing of former president and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

The other one is between Rep. Tony González and internet activist Brandon Herrera, backed by some hardliners in Congress and who has attacked the lawmaker for some bipartisan votes, including helping pass gun legislation in the wake of the district's Uvalde school shooting in 2021. This led the state chapter of the GOP to formally censure González, who, however, has been endorsed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Looking at the first race, NBC News reported that Phelan angered many in the party's right after overseeing impeachment efforts against state Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has carried out many of the state's legal efforts that clash with national policies. Immigration enforcement and laws regarding diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as the LGBT+ community stand out among them.

Paxton was accused of corruption, and the whole process caused large levels of infighting within the state's Republican party, leaving Phelan in a precarious position. Paxton was impeached by the House but the Senate declined to convict and remove him from office. The official, a close Trump ally and a potential Attorney General if he wins the White House in November, has vowed to go after those who voted against him.

Trump has been actively campaigning for Covey, including endorsements on social media and at the National Riffle Association convention in Dallas this month. "David is leading very substantially against your speaker of the House," Trump said at the NRA event. "We have to get your speaker out so we can go into voter fraud."

The race between González and Herrera also seems to be a close contest, with observers warning about the latter's real chances. The incumbent, who failed to get over half of the votes and avoid a runoff, has blasted fellow lawmakers who endorsed Herrera, calling them "scumbags" and "klansmen."

Speaking with CNN in April, Gonzales blasted the party's more right-wing faction for opposing the bill sending foreign aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan, focusing on the former. "It didn't surprise me that some of these folks voted against aid to Israel," he said.

"It's my absolute honor to be in Congress, but I serve with some real scumbags like [Florida Congressman] Matt Gaetz. He paid minors to have sex with them at drunk parties," Gonzales said. He also called out Rep. Bob Good and criticized him for endorsing Herrera, who he called a "known neo-Nazi."

Freedom Caucus members were quick to pick up the glove, with Rep. Eli Crane from Arizona saying that it was "pathetic" to call other lawmakers klansmen. He went on to endorse Herrera in the district's primary.

Herrera, on his end, sought to ride the wave saying Gonzales' statements were an act of desperation because he's concerned about losing the primary. "This is the death spiral ladies and gentlemen," Herrera said on social media.

However, González received a powerful endorsement from Gov. Greg Abbott, who in late April praised Gonzales for fighting for border security measures in Congress. "He represents more than two-thirds of the Texas-Mexico border and knows the dangerous consequences that President Joe Biden's reckless open border policies have on our state—and our nation," Abbott said in a statement.

"I know Tony will continue the fight in our nation's capital to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorists, re-instate the Remain in Mexico policies, and deport people who illegally enter our country," he added.

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