Trump-Endorsed Greg Abbott Gets GOP Challenger for Texas Governor. Who Is Allen West?

Allen West, a former GOP congressman and recent chair of the Texas Republican Party, officially announced his primary challenge to longtime incumbent Governor Greg Abbott, who West has long derided.

West on Sunday capped weeks of speculation and numerous thinly-veiled shots at Abbott by announcing his 2022 GOP gubernatorial campaign for the state of Texas. West joins state senator Don Huffines from Dallas, podcast host Chad Prather and Reform Party candidate Patrick Wynne among the official candidates vying to unseat Abbott, who has been governor of Texas since 2015. West said his opposition to the Green New Deal and his desire to go after the banks and finances behind illegal immigration are among his reasons for running.

West released a video Sunday that showed him reading the Declaration of Independence to churchgoers on July 4 and issuing a warning that the sovereignty of Texas is being threatened by illegal immigration and the border crisis.

A frequent critic and occasional ally to Abbott in recent years, West said his concerns about the border and the spread of so-called liberal ideologies in Texas urban areas is forcing him to get back on the political scene.

"I've not been in elected 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 and...the place that I call home," West said in the announcement video he released Sunday.

Newsweek reached out to Abbott's office for any response to West's impending campaign Sunday afternoon. But other candidates in the Texas governor race welcomed West's announcement. Abbott has already received the re-election blessing of former President Donald Trump, who enjoys relatively high polling numbers across the state of Texas.

"I hope that Allen joins me in condemning the Governor Greg Abbott for failing to prioritize laws that would prohibit sadistic physical and chemical sex reassignment procedures on children...and the globalist platforms championed by the Abbott administration," said Commonsense Conservative podcast host Chad Prather on Sunday. "While I'm at it, corporations should be prohibited from mandating COVID passports...."

West retired from U.S. Army active duty as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2003 after having served in combat in both Iraq wars. In 2019, West was commissioned as an officer in the Texas State Guard. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1983. West was elected as a one-term GOP congressman in Florida in 2010 before losing to Democrat Patrick Murphy in 2012. After moving to Texas years later, West became the chairman of the state Republican Party, a role he stepped down from last month.

West said his announcement to run against Abbott has also been motivated by his desire to push back against the potential federal energy implications of the so-called "Green New Deal." On June 17, West appeared on Fox & Friends and praised Abbott for recognizing the border crisis and "the scourge of illegal immigration coming across."

West said he's interested in going after banks laundering money for Mexican and Central American drug cartels. His newly created campaign website lists "protect[ing] the sovereignty of Texas" as one of his core motivations.

"We need to have a full mobilization of our National Guard, Texas National Guard down along that border so that they can secure these infiltration routes and they can enter the crossings that we see coming from these cartels and the flow of drugs and persons as well," his campaign website reads.

The GOP gubernatorial primary is set to be held in March 2022 and the general election will take place on November 8, 2022.

Republican Texas Allen West pushups press conference
Allen West, chairman of the Texas Republican Party, announced Sunday he's running for governor in Texas. Here he walks into Trump Tower on December 12, 2016 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty