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CD 23 Candidate Herrera Mocked Abbott’s Disability Then Lied About It

Herrera Campaign Dogged by History of Controversial Comments

Brandon Herrera, a candidate in the Republican runoff for Congressional District 23, has made comments mocking Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s disability and use of a wheelchair on at least two occasions. Although these comments appear on videos publicly posted on the internet, Herrera denied making any such remarks when questioned about the issue by a San Antonio radio talk show host last month. 

Herrera is challenging incumbent Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales in Congressional District 23, a geographically vast district that covers an area between El Paso and San Antonio. Gonzales earned 45.1% of the vote in a 5-way Republican primary race, with Herrera in a distant second place with 24.6%.

During an interview on the “Time for Pie” podcast on February 6, Herrera made light of Governor Abbott’s disability and implied it was a sign of weakness. “It sucks that it takes a Governor in a wheelchair to actually stand up for something,” said Herrera. One of the podcast hosts then immediately replied, “That shows how weak the administration is.”

Herrera’s comments in February were not the first time he had made light of Governor Abbott’s disability. In a video posted by Herrera to his YouTube channel on June 1, 2022, Herrera is filmed interviewing an anti-gun protestor who is holding a vulgar sign regarding Governor Abbott. 

As Herrera discussed the sign with the protestor, he asked the protestor who Greg Abbott was. Herrera then said, “Greg Abbott, the Governor of Texas, in the wheelchair,” adding, “Literally punching down?” to the protestor. 

After these comments came to light, Herrera was asked about them during an interview on a San Antonio radio talk show. Appearing on KTSA radio’s “Jack Riccardi Show” on March 20, Herrera denied having mocked Governor Abbott’s disability. 

Riccardi asked Herrera if it was true that he had “mocked Governor Greg Abbott’s handicap.” Herrera then replied, “Not that I recall.” 

Herrera’s comments about Governor Abbott are the latest in a string of controversial remarks that Herrera has been criticized for making. Last month, The Daily Beast reported on comments that Herrera had made making fun of Barron Trump, Donald Trump’s seventeen-year-old son. The article also highlighted comments Herrera had made questioning Donald Trump’s political viability in the 2024 election. 

In February, Thaddeus Cleveland, the Republican Sheriff of Terrell County, criticized Herrera for a joke Herrera made about veteran suicides. “I’m appalled at the “joke” about “putting a gun in his mouth” made by #BrandonHerreraforCongress regarding #veteransuicide,” said Cleveland in a Facebook post. “I’m a Veteran, I have a son currently serving in the Middle East and throughout my career in the U.S. Border Patrol I served along side many Veterans of the United Armed Forces. Veteran suicide is real and an average of 17 Veterans take their life each day.”

In addition to Cleveland, Gonzales has been endorsed for re-election by several other Sheriffs and law enforcement leaders in Congressional District 23, the National Border Patrol Council, and Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. The Republican Party of Texas recently sent a mail piece supporting Herrera to Republican voters in Congressional District 23, even though the bylaws of the State Republican Executive Committee prohibit Party funds from being used to endorse candidates in primaries. 

Under Article IX, Section 3 of the State Republican Executive Committee Bylaws, “No Party funds or resources shall be used, either directly or indirectly, to influence intraparty contests.” 

According to the most recent campaign finance report filed by the Republican Party of Texas with the Federal Election Commission, the Party has 43% less cash on hand and 85% fewer staff than it did during the same time during the 2020 election cycle. Last year, the Republican Party of Texas posted its worst federal fundraising numbers since 2017. 

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