Allen West, who recently stepped down as the chair of the Texas Republican Party, announced Sunday he is running for governor of the state.
West's candidacy puts him on a collision course against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott, a fellow Republican. West has frequently been critical of Abbott, even during his time as state party chair.
According to the Texas Tribune's Patrick Svitek, West declared his candidacy during a July Fourth appearance at Sojourn Church in Carrollton, Texas. “I can no longer sit on the sidelines and see what has happened in these United States of America,” West said in a launch video.
West told The Texan: “I’m not running against anybody. I’m running for Texas.”
A retired Army officer, West was elected to Congress from Florida in 2010 as part of the national Tea Party wave of candidates, but was narrowly defeated for reelection two years later.
A favorite of House conservatives, West drew two votes for speaker (from Louie Gohmert of Texas and Paul Broun of Georgia) over John Boehner in 2013 even though he was no longer a member of the House. West considered challenging Republican Sen. Marco Rubio for reelection in 2016 but ultimately declined to do so.
West relocated to Texas and was elected chair of the state's GOP in 2020. On June 4, he stepped down from his party post.
“It has been my distinct honor to serve as Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. I pray Godspeed for this governing body,” West said at the time. Amid speculation that he was planning to challenge Abbott, he told reporters: “We will let you know when we want you to know.”
In October 2020, West participated in a “Free Texas” protest at the governor's mansion over Covid restrictions. “We call upon the governor to do what is right by the people of the great state of Texas so that Texas can continue to be a leader,” West said.
Abbott was elected governor in 2014 and easily reelected in 2018.
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