Close this search box.

Legal Questions Surround Texas GOP Involvement in CD 23 Runoff

Republican Party of Texas Has Paid For At Least Two Mailers in Gonzales-Herrera Contest

Recent mailers sent by the Republican Party of Texas opposing Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales and supporting his Primary runoff opponent, YouTube personality Brandon Herrera, have raised the eyebrows of political observers stunned by the Party’s unprecedented actions to influence a Primary election. 

According to one expert, the actions surrounding these mailers likely run afoul of federal campaign finance law. 

Early last month, Republican voters in Congressional District 23 reported receiving direct mail pieces, paid for by the Republican Party of Texas, in support of Herrera in the Republican Primary runoff election on May 28. Sarah Stogner, the Republican nominee for District Attorney for the 143rd Judicial District, posted a copy of this mailer to Twitter

Earlier this week, reporter Brad Johnson of The Texan tweeted a photo of another mailer paid for by the Republican Party of Texas. This mailer attacked Gonzales and urged voters to “defeat him in the May 28th runoff.”

In a campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission last month, Herrera’s campaign reported donating $100,000 to the Republican Party of Texas on March 31, raising the prospect that Herrera’s campaign coordinated the mailers with the Party. However, the Party has not yet reported this contribution on its campaign finance filings. 

There is no limit on contributions a federal candidate’s campaign may make to a political party committee. However, with limited exceptions, a political party may only donate up to $5,000- including any in-kind contributions- to a federal candidate. 

The bylaws of the State Republican Executive Committee prohibit the Party from spending money supporting candidates running in Primary elections. “No Party funds or resources shall be used, either directly or indirectly, to influence intraparty contests,” state these bylaws.

In addition to violating the State Republican Executive Committee’s bylaws, one campaign finance expert believes this activity may violate federal law.

“Under Federal campaign finance law, a political party may only make a coordinated party expenditure in connection with a general election. Otherwise, the Party may only donate up to $5,000 to a campaign. Brandon Herrera’s campaign donated $100,000 to the Republican Party of Texas. The Party then sent mailers supporting Herrera in the Republican Primary runoff- not the general election. The value of these mailers certainly exceeds the $5,000 limit on in-kind contributions that the Party may make to a federal candidate,” said Eric Opiela, a Republican attorney who is board certified in Legislative and Campaign Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. 

The Republican Party of Texas’ support of Herrera has put it odds with leading Texas Republican leaders such as Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who have endorsed Gonzales.

As previously reported by The Texas Voice, the Republican Party of Texas has experienced fundraising woes, resulting in a dramatic decrease in the Party’s staff compared to the 2020 election cycle. The most recent campaign finance report filed by the Republican Party of Texas for the Party’s federal account showed that the Party’s federal account had 53.7% less cash on hand and 91% fewer staff compared to the same point in the 2020 election cycle. 

Share on :


More Interesting Posts