Texas GOP Chairman Allen West announced his resignation Friday morning, raising speculation the conservative firebrand could be preparing a run for statewide office.
West, who has been at the helm of the state Republican party for just shy of a year, will remain chair until a successor is picked on July 11, the party said.
"It has been my distinct honor to serve as Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. I pray Godspeed for this governing body," he said in a statement.
The video above is from a December 2020 report on West's suggestion for Texas to secede from the U.S.f
The party said that West "will take this opportunity to prayerfully reflect on a new chapter in his already distinguished career."
A former one-term Florida congressman who moved to Texas several years ago, West took over the party last summer, unseating incumbent James Dickey. He quickly made a name for himself for his willingness to speak out against fellow Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott. West sued Abbott for extending the early voting period due to the coronavirus, protested outside the Governor's Mansion over pandemic-related shutdowns and assailed state House speaker Dade Phelan as a traitor.
Critics have speculated for months that West was misusing the job of state party chairman to make a name for himself, potentially laying the groundwork to run for another office.
West has said he's not ruled out challenging Gov. Greg Abbott, and he has also had tension recently with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
The state office for Land Commissioner is also an open seat this election season now that incumbent commissioner George P. Bush has announced he's running for attorney general.
West used the latest legislative session to push hard for the party's eight legislative priorities, and he has spent recent days lamenting the lack of progress that lawmakers have to show on them.
He is set to appear at a news conference at 10:30 a.m. in Whitehouse, near Tyler, to discuss the session. The state Republican executive committee is holding its quarterly meeting in Whitehouse.
Abbott has already drawn a primary challenge from former state Sen. Don Huffines of Dallas. In addition to West, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller could also take on Abbott. On Tuesday, Abbott was endorsed for reelection by former President Donald Trump.
Abbott is not the only statewide official with whom West has butted heads. Toward the end of the session, he put pressure on Patrick, the presiding officer, to pass a House-approved bill allowing permitless carry of handguns, questioning Patrick's commitment to the cause and alleging the Senate added "poison-pill amendments." Patrick eventually wrangled the votes, he got the bill through the Senate and it is now on its way to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk for his signature.
Without naming West, Patrick said in a statement at one point after the bill passed the Senate that those who claimed the Senate-amended bill was in peril "willfully misled many Second Amendment supporters in Texas."
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Allen West resigns as chair of Texas Republican Party
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