DALLAS – Outgoing Texas GOP chair and former congressman Allen West insists that former President Trump’s endorsement of Gov. Greg Abbott “doesn’t hurt” his 2022 primary challenge against the two-term Republican governor.
Abbott is facing primary challenges from the right from West, former state Sen. Don Huffines, and political commentator Chad Prather. Huffines addresses the crowd of conservative activists and leaders at CPAC on Saturday, with West, a controversial and outspoken former one-term congressman from Florida, speaking Sunday.
West said that the “need to protect that border” was a major reason why he decided to run for governor, and his first stop after launching his campaign a week ago took place along the southern border.
He also criticized the governor for what he called “pretty much of a failure of a legislative session.”
Abbott’s made the headlines the past six weeks – signing into law bills restricting the teaching of critical race theory in his state and allowing Texas to carry weapons without a license. And a top item on his to-do list for state lawmakers during the special legislative session, which kicked off on Thursday, is to pass GOP backed legislation tightening voting access rules which was scuttled at the end of the regular session by a walkout of Democratic lawmakers.
Some Republicans in Texas say that Abbott’s muscular moves are an effort to protect his right flank, after taking plenty of incoming fire last year from furious Texas conservatives over his mask mandates and COVID-19 restrictions on businesses. And the governor was also dinged earlier this year for the state’s handling of a deadly winter storm, which triggered a electrical grid collapse that left millions of Texans freezing amid abnormally frigid temperatures.
West, who is stepping down as Texas GOP chair now that he’s challenging the governor, last year made the extremely unusual move of vocally criticizing Abbott’s efforts to battle the coronavirus pandemic. West emphasized to Fox News that “a lot of Texans were not happy with” the governor’s COVID restrictions.
Asked about Trump’s endorsement of Abbott, West answered that it “doesn’t hurt me at all and doesn’t concern me at all. As a matter of fact, there were several grassroots organizations in Texas that asked the president to rescind his endorsement of Gov. Abbott.”