AUSTIN, Texas - Outgoing Texas GOP Chairman Allen West was in Whitehouse, near Tyler, to talk about the recent legislative session.
The hot topic Friday morning wasn’t about what happened in Austin but was about his resignation, which was posted online about two hours earlier. In admitting he is leaving to run for a political office, West joked about which one.
"Oh, I don't know maybe dog catcher," said West.
When pressed, West, who once was a Florida congressman, would not say when he'd announce his decision, but indicated he was keeping all his options open and that even a return to DC was not out of the question.
"Well, why not, maybe even something congressional, cause I do live in Texas 32, and there's a guy in Texas 32 I really don't care for being my congressional representative," said West.
"I think Abbott gets 50% because the other candidates a too unknown," said Brian Smith with St. Edwards University.
Abbott will be hard to unseat, Smith told FOX7, despite the fights over mask mandates and orders closing businesses. "The more candidates that run to Abbott's right the better off Abbott does," said Smith.
West also has his detractors within the Party.
In a Friday morning social media post, Travis County GOP chair Matt Mackowiak stated;
"It is now clear that Allen West’s entire tenure as Texas GOP Chair was intended to do only what many suspected: provide him a platform for his political future, not an opportunity to build the party."
West on Friday defended his quick exit. "So there is a window of opportunity for you to consider something like this and I don't want to have a conflict of interest," said West.
West, who was an early Tea Party advocate, has aligned himself with new right-wing members of the GOP and political extremists. Those are also potential supporters of former state senator Don Huffines who has already said he will challenge Abbott.
All 3 Republicans are vocal supporters of former President Trump. Abbott claimed an early win, of sorts, when he claimed in a post an endorsement letter from Trump. Smith said the political promise is far from ironclad.
"That's one of the things about Donald Trump we failed in the past 6 years to predict his next move, so he could easily withdraw an endorsement, endorse someone other than those candidates or sit the race out," said Smith.
A primary win for West could be a gift for Democrats. After the regular session ended Monday, a group of Texas House Democrats blasted the GOP.
A trendy candidate could also benefit from having West on the November ballot, according to Smith.
"If he does get the nomination, that certainly opens up the McConaughey race that everybody is talking about because if West is far to the right, that center and center-right area becomes a lot more fertile ground for a candidate who doesn't have a lot of political positions," Smith said.
What is certain is that West’s exit comes at a critical time for the party. In the resignation announcement, it was stated that West could not change his mind, but he would stay on until a replacement is found next month. There was also a statement that he would be out by the end of the day.