While Texas Republicans try to fend off upset-minded Democrats in 2020, they'll also be fighting an intramural battle. Former Florida Congressman Allen West recently announced he's running for Texas GOP chair, challenging James Dickey, who has held the position since 2017. Delegates will elect the next chair at the state GOP convention next May.
In his announcement, West touted the need for "strong, principled voices" and "constitutional conservatives" leading the party, while promising to promote pro-life policies and stronger border security, among other items.
During and after his time in Congress, West has developed a strong reputation among conservatives, remaining active as a writer, commentator and political organizer. But his announcement has been met with skepticism among some longtime Texas GOP members. "To me, this is a very puzzling thing," says Matt Mackowiak, Travis County GOP Chair. "I mean, the state party is doing very well raising record sums, we have a full-time state chairman now who is working very hard."
"I don't really understand why Allen West is running for this office," Mackowiak tells KTRH. "He's never shown any interest in the state party, he's never attended one of the quarterly executive committee meetings...I doubt he even understands what the job of the state chair is or how it works."
Mackowiak notes that, while he shares West's principles and vision for the state party, he doesn't think 2020 is the right time for a contentious battle at the top of the party. "If (West) were elected, he'd be coming into office with four and a half months to go before the November election, and he'd be learning on the job ahead of the most important election of the decade," says Mackowiak. "My concern is that (West) may be doing this to use the office of state chairman for his own desires, his own platform, to get more recognition---not to do the hard work of building the party, recruiting candidates, raising money."