Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who’s held the state’s governor’s mansion for two terms, has long been popular with Republicans in his state and across the country.
However, Abbott was heavily criticized by Texas Republicans last year for a few missteps in how he tackled the COVID-19 pandemic. That momentary lapse in support opened the gates for potential challengers, and according to Fox News, former GOP Florida congressman and retired U.S. Army officer Allen West has formally declared his intentions to oust Abbott next year.
“I am now drawing my sword”
West, the outgoing chair of the Texas GOP, made his announcement over the Independence Day holiday weekend at Sojourn Church in Carrollton, Texas, telling his followers that he can no longer “sit on the sidelines.”
“There comes a time when a warrior understands that maybe he has to go back and pull out that sword,” the combat veteran said in a video uploaded online. “I am now drawing my sword.”
West expressed concern over what he sees happening across the country and in his home state of Texas, referring at least in part to the immigration crisis that continues to plague the southern sectors of the state.
“I have not been in elective political office for about a decade. But I can no longer sit on the sidelines and see what has happened in these United States of America, what is happening in the place that I call home,” West said in the video.
“Let’s stand up for God, for country, and for Texas,” West told his fellow church parishioners.
Abbott covers his GOP flank
In recent months, Abbott has maintained a near-constant presence in the headlines for a series of moves he’s made that have overwhelmingly pleased Republicans not only in Texas, but across the entire country.
Most recently, Abbott tackled the highly controversial issue of Critical Race Theory — going so far as to pass legislation banning the radical, progressive teachings in the Lone Star State, according to The Texas Tribune.
Abbott also recently teamed up with former President Donald Trump for a border visit at which the Texas governor explained his plans to construct border wall sections, an announcement that came not long after President Joe Biden’s administration announced the cancellation of the Trump-era effort to build a wall across the entirety of the southern U.S. border.
Some have speculated that Abbott’s growing list of conservative-friendly political moves is an effort to shore up what might be much-needed GOP support as he attempts to secure a third term as Texas governor.
Only time will tell, but with West and other Republican challengers entering the primary fray, Abbott would be wise to use his time between now and next year’s election to make as many conservative friends as possible.