Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott is facing a challenge he may not have expected following an announcement from fellow Republican Allen West, who hopes to unseat him. Abbott is seeking a third term as Texas Governor in 2022 and, despite still being generally popular with Republicans in the state, it seems that this time he will be facing a number of opponents with good name recognition in both the primary and general election.
Abbott faces new challenger
Abbott, a former state attorney general, can point to solid popularity in polls, an endorsement from former President Trump, and powerful financial backing to discourage lesser known challengers from his own party.
All of this has done little to quash interest from several other famous potential opponents who will have extensive resources of their own to call on should they commit to running against Abbott.
Actor Matthew McConaughey has all but confirmed that he will be running for the position and former senatorial and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is well positioned to become the nominee for the Democrats if he announces his probable candidacy.
While McConaughey has refused to specify what he will be running as or where he stands on most issues, he appears to be at least courting Republican voters.
Allen West is entering an already crowded field of candidates; in a Fox News interview the former Lt. Col. and Congressman described his challenge to Abbott as a David and Goliath fight.
West has spent the last year as chairman of the Texas Republican Party, where he has frequently sparred with GOP higher ups and criticized more established leadership.
— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) July 6, 2021
Texas Republican Party sees internal conflict
West says that he wants his campaign to be seen as running for something, rather than running against Abbott. He has, however, directly and indirectly criticized Abbott a number of times throughout the last year.
While there has been some confusion surrounding the differences between the two Republicans, West is apparently planning to depict Abbott as being insufficiently committed to several key conservative causes.
Abbott has recently taken a tougher public stance on illegal immigration, though West argues that Texas authorities are still allowing immigrants to cross the border illegally and even claims that he saw them being helped across by the Texas National Guard.
The incumbent governor has announced plans to construct his own border wall using donations, West, who feels that this plan is not proactive enough, argued that “just building a wall is not a panacea.”
An earlier clash between the two came several months ago when Abbott denounced conservative Twitter alternative Gab as having “no place in Texas”, arousing criticism from West and other Texas Republicans who pointed out that he has elsewhere campaigned against social media censorship.
In most areas the West and Abbott platforms are very similar; for Texas Republicans the question will ultimately be whether or not Abbott has pushed that platform actively enough throughout his two terms.