Former Florida congressman and retired army officer Allen West announced his run for Governor of Texas with a campaign video at a Fourth of July appearance at the Sojourn Church in Carrollton, Texas. In the seven-minute video, West touches on flashpoints such as energy independence, border security, and human trafficking. He says that although he has not been in elected office in a decade, he can “no longer sit on the sidelines and see what has happened in these United States of America.”
West served in the Gulf War and Iraq War and retired as a lieutenant colonel. He also worked as a defense contractor, taught U.S. history, and coached track and field in Florida before winning a seat in the House of Representatives in 2010. In 2019 he was sworn into the Texas State Guard and, in 2020, was elected as Texas GOP chairman.
His run for Governor was to be expected as he hinted at a statewide office run when he announced he would be stepping down as Texas state GOP chair. He has been critical of Governor Abbott’s handling of the covid-19 pandemic and is reportedly hoping to push the Texas legislative agenda further to the right. West also protested outside of the Governor’s Mansion last fall with agriculture commissioner Sid Miller.
West is joined in the primary race by former state senator and real estate developer Don Huffines and conservative commentator and comedian Chad Prather. Possible candidates for the general election from outside the Republican party include former House Representative and Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke and actor Matthew McConaughey.
Greg Abbott is running for his third four-year term as Governor and recently made news for meeting with former President Trump in an attempt to address the ongoing crisis at the Texas-Mexico border. Abbott also signed bills into law that prohibit the teaching of critical race theory, allow Texans to carry weapons without a license, and called for a special legislative session meant to pass legislation tightening voting access in the state.
Abbott has been a target of politicians on both sides of the aisle. During the height of the pandemic, Democrats claimed that he was not decisive enough in the decisions made to slow the spread of the virus. At the same time, Republicans believed he was too heavy-handed with the statewide mask mandate and too slow to reopen the Texas economy.
Both Abbott and West have been vocal allies of former President Trump. However, Abbott’s re-election campaign has been endorsed by Trump. West has dismissed the endorsement stating, “I serve God, country, and Texas, so that doesn’t affect me whatsoever.”