Texas GOP chairman Allen West resigns, considers problem to Gov. Greg Abbott in 2022 main
Texas Republican Party leader Allen West resigned after less than 11 months in office on Friday, confirming speculation that he might challenge Governor Greg Abbott in the primary.
West, a former Florida Congressman and retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, told WBAP radio that he was prayerfully considering running for governor and later told the reporter that he might also challenge Dallas Congressman Colin Allred .
He has a strong tea party following, but lacks one key asset for a nationwide race: the support of Donald Trump. The former president gave Abbott his “full and complete approval” on Tuesday, although West insisted that it will not be a factor in his decision whether to face Abbott or anyone else.
“I’m not serving President Trump,” West told reporters in East Texas on Friday. “I serve God, the country, and Texas, so it doesn’t affect me at all.”
West would join a growing field of Republicans hoping to defeat Abbott in the primary next spring. The governor has stated that he has no concerns and is not yet focused on his re-election efforts.
“I’ll get into politics in due course,” he told The Dallas Morning News earlier this week.
As an indication of where West fits on the ideological spectrum, he spoke at a QAnon-affiliated conference in Dallas last weekend where Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security advisor, caused a stir with a recent military coup in Dallas Myanmar could happen in the United States and “it should happen here”.
West distanced himself from this feeling.
But early in his tenure as the state’s GOP chairman, West conjured up the phrase “We are the storm,” a slogan often used by followers of the far-right QAnon cult, which claims a cabal of satanic, cannibalized pedophiles controls the government , and government that Trump was the champion fighting this cabal.
West denied any connection with the conspiracy theory and insisted on borrowing it from a favorite poem: “The devil whispers in the warrior’s ear: ‘You cannot withstand the coming storm.’ The warrior whispers back: ‘I am the storm.’ “
“I don’t know anyone else and I’m not into internet conspiracy theories,” West told Austin broadcaster KXAN-TV in August after the New York Times quoted his use of the term as evidence of a “partnership” with QAnon.
That was just weeks after West defeated former GOP chairman James Dickey last July. The Texas Democrats called him a “certified racist-conservative hardliner”.
Like most state party leaders, Dickey used his perch to advance the party’s broader interests and candidates, and to defend its incumbents.
West broke that shape.
He has deeply and openly criticized Abbott, particularly its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has criticized the governor for imposing masking requirements and restrictions on companies to contain the outbreak, which has now claimed more than 50,000 lives in Texas.
He also got on with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick quarreled, accusing him last fall of undermining efforts to expand the right to carry handguns. This led Patrick to accuse “outside agitators” of having spread “an avalanche of misinformation and simple lies” – a remarkable brawl between a state party leader and one of the most powerful officials in his party.
The GOP area code already includes former Senator Donald Huffines from Dallas. He has criticized the governor for leaving Republican red meat issues on the table, including the “electoral integrity” law, which was hampered by a dramatic strike by Democratic lawmakers who see it as an attempt to suppress minority voters.
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is considering running and could announce his campaign in the coming days.
Abbott downplayed any concern about his survival for the next year when asked about West, Huffines, Miller and movie star Matthew McConaughey, who said he was considering a “real consideration” for a next year run.
“I haven’t gotten to a point where I even focus on politics, there will be plenty of time for me to do so,” the governor told The News on Tuesday, adding that he was not focusing on that will be re-elected before June 20, the deadline for reviewing and vetoing laws approved by the legislature that ended Monday.
Dave Carney, Abbott’s top political adviser, told The News the governor was in a strong position to be re-elected.
The legislature has passed strong, conservative laws while strengthening the state’s power grid, he said, adding, “We had a large number of articles that are attractive to Republicans and independents. We are in top form. “
West’s resignation will take effect July 11, if the state party elects a replacement.
“It was a special honor for me to chair the Republican Party of Texas. I pray God’s blessings on this governing body, ”he said in a statement.
He was elected to Congress in 2010 amid the tea party wave that emerged in response to the 2008 election of Barack Obama, but lost his re-election bid to a Democrat who labeled him a far-right and less than a quarter of the 17 million US dollars spent on the West spent trying to defend its place.
As one of two Black House Republicans at the time, he called Obama a “low-level socialist agitator” and called Obama supporters “a threat to the gene pool.” He also claimed that up to 81 House Democrats were members of the Communist Party, but never presented evidence or named names.
During a short-lived investigation into a candidacy for Congress in Dallas in 2019, the Democratic Congress campaign committee named him a “certified wacko” and found that he had social security “slavery to the 21st President and had used his time in Congress to get too.” argue that terrorism is inherent in Islam and that Islam is “not a religion” but a “totalitarian theocratic political ideology”.
In 2015, West was hired as chief executive officer of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, a free market think tank credited with hatching advances in GOP policies such as Health Savings Accounts and Roth IRAs.
In less than two years, the non-profit organization was broke. A chief financial officer hired during West’s tenure embezzled more than $ 600,000 and the board accused West of mismanagement.
West spent 22 years in the Army, serving in combat during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, as a battalion commander in the 4th Infantry Division, and later in Afghanistan. His honors include a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals and a Valorous Unit Award.
“Maybe even something congress”
West was careful not to pull the curtain too far back on his plans during a press conference held in Whitehouse near Tyler on Friday.
“I don’t know, maybe dog catching,” he said. When asked if all national offices were on the table, he said, “Why not?” before giving a nudge to Allred, a former professional footballer and civil rights attorney who was elected to Congress in 2018.
“Maybe even a congressman because I live in Texas 32 and there is a guy in Texas 32 that I really don’t want to be a member of Congress,” West said of Allred. Hours later, ex-MP Matt Rinaldi, a Republican from Irving, announced his candidacy to replace West as party leader.
Rice political scientist Mark Jones said West is likely testing the water by teasing a campaign against Abbott while leaving other options open.
“This could be a way of creating visibility and he might not be able to run for governor at all,” said Jones. “You really never know exactly what he’s doing or if there’s a reason for his rhyme. What West will find is that he has very limited appeal in Texas. “
Although he did not provide any further details, West said he saw a “window of opportunity” after the 2020 elections and the legislative term that has just ended.
“I don’t want to have a conflict of interest, focus on that [GOP chair], and not being able to fully dedicate myself to the Texas Republican Party, ”West said. “So I’d rather step aside and focus and make sure that maybe I can continue the ministry in other ways.”
President Trump sent me this message today.
“Greg – YOU WILL WIN BIG!”
It’s great to have the president behind me 100%.
We are both committed to keeping Texas RED and will continue to fight for the values that make Texas the # 1 state in America. pic.twitter.com/zwO19b8epR
– Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 2, 2021
West applauded the Texan legislature for banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected – six weeks after pregnancy, which is often earlier than a woman is aware of her pregnancy. He also praised a bill that would allow gun owners to carry a gun without permission.
He expressed disappointment over the eleventh failure of the controversial electoral law, a proposed ban on tax-funded lobbying and a law that would have blocked gender-based care for transgender youth under the age of 18.
“We did something about the abortion problem with the heart rate calculation,” West said. “We got constitutional wear. We are still waiting for the integrity of the elections, but everything just seems to have collapsed. We are not satisfied with this performance. “
Author Alex Briseño’s collaborator contributed to this report.