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Former Texas GOP lawmaker challenging Abbott in primary

Former Texas GOP lawmaker challenging Abbott in primary
© Getty

Former state Sen. Don Huffines (R) has launched a primary challenge to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

“For decades, politicians have promised to secure our border, to lower our property taxes and to protect election integrity,” Huffines said in a video announcing his candidacy. “But year after year, nothing gets done. I’m tired of being lied to. We all are. That’s why I’m running for Texas governor.”

Huffines, a wealthy real estate developer who represented a Dallas-based state Senate district for four years until 2019, has been critical of Abbott’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, believing that the Texas governor has been too slow to lift restrictions.

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In announcing his candidacy on Monday, however, Huffines made no mention of Abbott or his handling of the pandemic.

Instead, he rattled off a list of priorities that mirror those championed by former President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE, vowing to finish the border wall long promised by Trump and his allies and “expose voter fraud.”

Abbott is slated to go up for reelection to a third term in 2022, and although he is expected to enter his primary campaign as the front-runner, he could face some stiff competition from Republicans irked at his response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Other Republicans seen as potential gubernatorial candidates include Texas GOP chair Allen West and state Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.

Still, Abbott remains more popular than not among Texas Republicans. A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll fielded last month found that 77 percent of GOP voters approve of his job performance, significantly higher than his overall approval rating of 43 percent.