Allen West, Former Florida Congressman Who Now Lives in Texas, Announces He is Exploring Run for Texas GOP Chair

Former U.S. Rep. Allen West moved to North Texas in 2014. Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Allen West, the former Florida congressman who now lives in Texas, announced Wednesday evening that he is exploring a run for Texas GOP chair, setting up a potential challenge to the party’s current leader, James Dickey.

“As I look ahead as to how I can continue my service to this constitutional republic and the great state of Texas, my family and I … have decided to explore the opportunity to be the next chairman of the Republican Party of Texas,” West said in a live YouTube broadcast.

Delegates will elect the next chair of the Republican Party of Texas at its 2020 convention, which is scheduled for May 14-16 in Houston. Dickey first won the job in 2017 after the previous chair resigned, and he was reelected a year later — both were contentious races.

After West’s announcement, Dickey issued a statement making clear he is running for re-election next year — and warning against intra-party conflict during a critical cycle for Texas Republicans.

“We are on an incredible path and we must not waver,” Dickey said. “Division in Texas amongst our base is not what we need to defeat what will be next year the greatest Democrat onslaught that we have seen in decades.”

West’s announcement was closely watched in the Texas political world. He had said in advance that he would announce whether he was running for one of three offices: the 32nd Congressional District, U.S. Senate or state party chair.

He acknowledged that he may be letting down some supporters by not seeking a return to Capitol Hill. “But if the soul of Texas is lost, then what gain do I have in that personal accomplishment or achievement?” West asked.

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SOURCE: Texas Tribune, Patrick Svitek