Republicans in Texas are airing a transphobic ad in an attempt to hold on to a Congressional seat.

The target: Air Force Veteran Gina Ortiz Jones.

“Jones would divert military money to pay for transgender reassignment surgeries,” says the narrator in the ad, put out by the National Republican Campaign Committee. The attack ad wrongly asserts Jones would close military bases and “doesn’t care about Texas.”

“I don’t support closing military bases, my opponent knows this,” said Jones, during a debate this week. “I’m a proud Air Force veteran, Iraq War veteran, I trained at Lackland Air Force Base, my first assignment in the Air Force was Kelly Annex. I worked at Fort Sam Houston with U.S. Army South when I came back to help my mom when she was battling cancer. I’ve spent 13 years of my career working on a military base. I know exactly how important our military bases are to our national security. With my background, having worked in Iraq to the executive office of the president, I am best positioned to bring more military missions to this district.”

If elected, Jones, 39, would be the first openly gay woman of color from Texas to serve in the Congress. She lost her bid for the District 23 seat by a razor-thin margin in 2018 to incumbent Rep. Will Hurd. Hurd is retiring and Jones now faces Tony Gonzales, a Navy veteran, who has failed to disavow the attack ad and stated Jones has a “transgender agenda.” 

The LGBTQ Victory Fund, in a statement from President Annise Parker, condemned the NRCC’s ad.

“The NRCC leadership should think beyond November and recognize they are alienating an entire generation of LGBTQ people and their allies,” Parker said, adding Gonzales’ silence is destructive and means he accepts bigotry for a perceived political gain.

Texas Congressional District 23 covers a large swath of turf north of the Mexican border from El Paso to San Antonio.

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