Texas GOP chair Allen West announced his resignation on Friday, opening up the possibility of a run for statewide office.
In a news release from the Texas Republican party, West said it was his “distinct honor” to serve in the position, which he did for just under a year. West’s resignation will be effective on July 11.
The party’s news release touts West’s support for Texas’ “heartbeat bill” — or extreme anti-abortion legislation that effectively bans the procedure at six weeks.
There has been widespread speculation that West would run for statewide office in Texas, either for governor or Congress.
In a previously scheduled press conference Friday, West said that “so many people have asked me to consider something” and that he’d look at “maybe something even congressional, cuz I do live in Texas [district] 32, and there’s a guy in Texas-32 that I really don’t care for being my congressional representative.” Democratic Rep. Colin Allred currently serves the district.
West also told a radio host earlier Friday that it was “safe” to assume he was considering a run for governor. West was a frequent critic of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who is running for a third term in 2022 and has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
As GOP party chair, West protested outside the governor’s mansion over COVID-19 shutdowns, reports the Texas Tribune. He also sued Abbott for extending early voting due to the pandemic.
West, who grew up in Georgia and served in the Army as lieutenant colonel, was previously best known as a Tea Party-backed congressman in Florida in the early 2010s. In that position, he made repeated Islamophobic statements.
In terms of who will replace West as Texas GOP chair, current vice chair Cat Parks “will be having conversations with her family” about a possible run, per her spokesperson. Meanwhile, former GOP state Rep. Matt Rinaldi has already announced his candidacy for the position.