Texas Governor Abbott Finally Gets a Challenger With Massive Name Recognition

J. Scott Applewhite

Texas Governor Greg Abbott took a huge hit to his popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic when he both shut the state down for a time and then instituted a mask mandate across the state against the will of a majority of Texans. The left attempted to put the power outage suffered by Texans during the state’s freeze at his feet as well, and while he does take responsibility, he’s made it clear that The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) assured him repeatedly the power grid could withstand the lower temperatures.

After all of this, it’s clear that Abbott’s popularity is bleeding and that blood in the water is attracting challengers. While many have announced their intention to run against the sitting governor, few have actually presented an actual threat.

However, during the 4th of July celebrations, that may have changed.

It would appear that retired Army lieutenant colonel and current Texas GOP chairman Allen West has declared his intention to run for Governor of the Lone Star State. During an appearance at the Sojourn Church in Carrollton, Texas, West played this video below, officially throwing his cowboy hat into the ring.

The video begins with West reciting the lyrics to the Texas State Song, “Texas Our Texas,” and asks how Texans can uphold the declarations made in it for future generations of Texans. To be sure, he gives the answers to those questions such as securing the border, tackling the sex trade issue, and resistance to the “Green New Deal” and the embrace of energy independence.

Anticipating the criticism that West’s background as a Georgia-born citizen who attended University in Tennesee, West looked back into the past where he pointed out that Georgia and Tennessee have a very close relationship with Texas, and that many prominent Texas figures hailed from those states.

While West has previously served in Florida as a congressman, he says that he’s now ready to serve again in order to protect Texas from the problems that now befall it.

“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.

West did not call out Abbott in his video directly but that doesn’t mean he’s without his criticisms of Abbott and openly spoke out against Abbott’s mask mandate during the pandemic.

Regardless, the question boils down to whether or not West has a chance against Abbott. The name recognition is going to assist him greatly during the campaign, but despite West’s popularity among conservatives as a general rule, Texans still view Abbott favorably, making this an uphill climb for West.

According to the Texas Tribune, Abbott’s support among Republicans is strong at 77 percent with 43 percent of Republicans stating they “strongly approve” of his performance. The governor has also spent some time regaining momentum after the pandemic response tripped up his popularity.

His tackling of the border issue has shown him in a position of strength and determination and bringing Donald Trump to the border and sitting next to him while they spoke about it were strokes of pure political genius as it painted Abbott as a Trump conservative, a highly popular thing to be right now. On top of that, Abbott has passed a constitutional carry law, effectively making it legal to carry a handgun in Texas without a license.

It’s likely that Abbott will continue to hammer home the power of the Republican party in Texas, further putting himself in a much better light to voters and keeping West on the backfoot. How West will compensate for this is anyone’s guess and time will tell if West has the political know-how to overcome the odds.