Texas Legislature

The Republican Governor's Primary Race Is Getting Real Weird

Gov. Greg Abbott is laying out a conservative agenda for the legislative session
Gov. Greg Abbott is laying out a conservative agenda for the legislative session Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has been saying some certifiably zany stuff these days, from promising to “eliminate rape” in the Lone Star State to launching an all-out assault on gender-neutral children’s toys. But the real weirdness is brewing in the primary candidate pool, where a comedian, a fail son from a car dealership family and an accused “war criminal” are taking turns casting Abbott as a "Demonrat" in sheep’s clothing.

Following the state’s abortion ban, many liberals threatened to flee Texas for good. Still, nothing would send them packing sooner than if an Abbott challenger were to move into the governor’s mansion. (It may sound like a long shot, but a recent poll by the Texas Politics Project found that only 41% of Texans approve of the governor's performance, the lowest number throughout his time in office.)

Chad Prather

Comedian Chad Prather told Texas Scorecard that he has the solution to the state’s border crisis: detect, deter, detain, deport and defend. Ah yes, the alliterative five-D method will solve it all.

Likening border-crossers to an “invasion,” Prather said as governor, he’d gladly give the mounted border agents a hand and be the “first guy down there on horseback.” (The cowboy didn’t say whether he’d be shirtless when mounting the stallion, but the Western revenge-fantasy does conjure images of another politician.)

When discussing the state's abortion ban, which doesn't include exemptions for rape, Prather told Texas Scorecard that “the guilt of murder on top of the ignominy of rape does not help a woman.” Perhaps most notable, though, was his sound, science-based understanding of biology during an attempt to poke holes in the pro-choice argument.

“[After conception], the DNA of a human being is immediately imprinted on that person; that DNA is there for the rest of their life,” he said. “If we were to discover that on … Mars, we would spend tens of trillions of dollars trying to protect that life.”

Don Huffines

His family may have gotten you a deal on your Hyundai, but Don Huffines is applying his salesmanship to the governor’s race. Now, he’s set on persuading Texans that Abbott is allied with the LGBTQ-loving left.

On Tuesday, The Texas Tribune reported that the state’s child welfare agency had deleted a page providing LGBTQ youth with resources. The move came after Huffines slammed the agency in a video posted to Twitter, accusing them of “promoting transgender sexual policies” to kids.
On Wednesday, Huffines issued a statement that accused Abbott of paying “radical Leftists” and of removing the state’s LGBTQ resource website to protect his political career. Huffines also said the state’s child welfare agency is “providing exploitative content which sexualizes children.”

“As governor, I will ensure this predatory grooming of Texas kids ends,” he wrote. “Any adult who pushes the perverted LGBTQ agenda on our children will be promptly removed from all positions within Texas government agencies.”

Allen West

Allen West, the former Florida congressman who also served as chair of the Republican Party of Texas, is known for making memorable copy. This year, he scorned a New York Times reporter for wearing a mask, telling her she could remove her “face diaper” during their interview. He’d also railed against vaccine mandates — even after West, who is unvaccinated, was hospitalized for COVID-19.

On Saturday, West’s social media account tweeted that he’d been taking the horse dewormer ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug that public health officials have begged people to refrain from eating. He’d also taken the antimalarial medication hydroxychloroquine. Medical experts say neither should be used to treat coronavirus.

But on Tuesday, West issued a statement saying he’d been released from the hospital. He also wrote that he’d gone on a 2-mile jog that morning: “Neither a high-speed motorcycle crash nor COVID-19 can keep an old soldier down.”

He again took the opportunity to vow that he’d “crush anyone” who forced vaccine mandates in Texas.

“Our bodies are our last sanctuary of liberty and freedom,” West wrote. “I will defend that for everyone, even the progressive socialist jackasses who must be saved from themselves.”
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter