Bexar County GOP hasn’t censured Cornyn & Gonzales, but chairman says it could still happen

Local parties upset with Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Tony Gonzales voting with Democrats

The Bexar County GOP did not end up censuring Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Tony Gonzales earlier this week, but the head of the party says it could still happen. Other local GOP branches have already censured the two federal lawmakers for breaking with the party on certain issues.

San Antonio – Accused of breaking with their party and voting with Democrats, Sen. John Cornyn and Congressman Tony Gonzales were the subjects of a pair of censure resolutions discussed at a Bexar County G.O.P. meeting Tuesday.

The resolutions ultimately didn’t pass. But the party chairman said it’s not because they were voted down; it’s because they couldn’t be voted on at all.

The two Republican legislators weren’t notified so they could be at the meeting to defend themselves, said Chairman Jeff McManus.

“In essence, that meant, since that was not done, that those motions to censure were null and void,” McManus said.

However, the chairman said the issue could still come up again.

“Those resolutions were tabled. And basically, if the C.E.C. or the executive committee, i.e., all the precinct chairs, choose to bring it forward again, I will facilitate the votes and the actions,” McManus said, adding that he does not have a position on it.

Cornyn and Gonzales have already been knocked by other local parties. The Republican Party of Pecos County censured Gonzales, and the Republican Party of Medina County censured him and Cornyn.

KSAT was unable to obtain confirmed copies of Bexar County G.O.P.’s resolutions, but McManus said it was an “expression of general dissatisfaction” of having Republicans vote with Democrats.

“To have Republicans voting with the Democrats does not help the unity of the party,” said McManus.

The resolutions from the other counties also referenced occasions when the two voted with Democrats, including on gun laws.

Notably, both men supported the most sweeping gun violence bill in decades following the Uvalde massacre. Cornyn helped craft it, and Gonzales, who represents Uvalde, voted for it.

The legislation will toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders and help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people adjudged to be dangerous.

Art Brown, the precinct chairman who submitted the resolutions, told KSAT via text message he did so because he’s “frustrated with Republican officials who have decided to team up with Democrats to pass their policy at a time when we are trying to unite Republicans for November.”

McManus said there was a voice vote against sending an invitation to the two men, but a standing count went the other way. In either case, the chairman said, it was a “meaningless” vote since the censures were out of order.

However, that wasn’t the only take on the result. One of the precinct chairs who opposed censuring Cornyn and Gonzales, former congressman Quico Canseco, said, “an overwhelming majority shut the whole thing down.”

Canseco said the standing count McManus referenced was for another vote, and believed the voice vote had weight to it.

“You can’t just say it didn’t happen. A vote has weight,” Canseco said.

Asked about Canseco’s assertion that the standing count was on a different vote, McManus said that to say anything further he would like to have a copy of the minutes with him first.

Asked for comment Friday, Gonzales’s office emailed a statement from the Congressman:

“I take a county censure seriously because I value the feedback of my constituents. That is why I hold a monthly call with local GOP leaders and schedule frequent town halls. In the aftermath of Uvalde, I voted for the Safer Communities Act because it would have prevented the shooting. I’d vote for it again today and twice on Sunday. As a Representative, my focus is on delivering tangible solutions, such as ensuring parents feel safe dropping their kids off at school, fighting for our border communities, and improving veterans’ healthcare.”

Cornyn’s office referred KSAT to a Tweet he made following a San Antonio Report story on the vote:

About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.