Tea Party conservative Allen West to guide Texas GOP through 2020 elections
Texas Republicans tapped former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) as their new party chair on Monday, voting out current chair James Dickey in an early morning round of voting.
Ultimately, 22 of the state’s 31 Senate district caucuses chose West to lead the party into the 2020 elections during its virtual convention. West’s victory means he will take the reins of the largest state GOP in the country just four months before one of the most challenging election cycles for Texas Republicans in recent history.
West, who represented Florida’s 22nd District in Washington from 2011 until 2013, rose to political prominence at the beginning of the last decade as the conservative Tea Party movement gained steam. He was a frequent critic of former President Obama and often drew attention for his bombastic rhetoric.
West moved to Texas in 2014 and became the CEO of the now-defunct think tank, the National Center for Policy Analysis.
West’s victory in the race for Texas state GOP chair came in the middle of a particularly volatile election season for Republicans. President Trump has largely found himself playing defense in recent months amid criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is expected to make a play for Texas.
At the same time, Texas Republicans are facing tough challenges for Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) Senate seat and House districts, including that of retiring Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas).
Democrats pounced on West’s win on Monday, bringing up his history of controversial remarks. West, who is Black, has made incendiary claims over the years, including that the Black community “was stronger” and had “better education opportunities” during segregation.
“We’re disgusted but not surprised that Texas Republicans chose a certified racist conservative hardliner like Allen West as their new chairman,” Abhi Rahman, the communications director for the Texas Democratic Party, said.
“West is everything that is wrong with the Republican Party and brings to light their failures on building an inclusive, welcoming party that is deliberate and thoughtful in handling crisis situations. He’ll fit right in with the modern day Texas Republican Party.”
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