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Gov. Abbott’s GOP challengers face off at Tyler candidate forum

Don Huffines, Allen West, Chad Prather answer questions at East Texas forum
Three candidates challenging Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in the GOP primary faced off Friday night at a candidate forum hosted by Grassroots America: We The People.
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 10:37 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Three candidates challenging Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in the GOP primary faced off Friday night at a candidate forum hosted by Grassroots America: We The People.

Former State Senator Don Huffines, former Republican Party of Texas chairman Lt. Col. Allen West, and conservative talk show host Chad Prather sat down for what was essentially a job interview in front of East Texas Republican voters. A job interview in which they are vying to replace Gov. Abbott. And it is their mutual disdain for Abbott that had a major presence in many of their answers.

“When I announced back in July of 2020 that I was going to run for governor in the state of Texas to try to primary Greg Abbott, a lot of people were waiting for the punch line,” said Prather. “They wanted to know if this was a joke. It’s not a popularity contest. And it’s certainly not a get rich quick scheme. This is not the kind of popularity or riches you want to go after. Running a statewide race is very, very difficult. It’s an uphill climb, especially against a swamp land ‘RINO’ (Republican in name only) like Greg Abbott.”

Chad Prather is an American conservative political commentator, comedian and internet...
Chad Prather is an American conservative political commentator, comedian and internet personality.(Blake Holland/KLTV)

“And I think it is time for Texas to have someone that will continue to honor the oath that they took,” said West. “And once again, restore Texas to be the preeminent, constitutional conservative state in America that understands that it is the individual - their rights, their freedoms, their liberty, their sovereignty - that are supreme over the institution of government.

“I’m not looking for a new job or a new career,” Huffines said. “I’m looking to solve the problems that affect Texas, and it puts me at a distinct advantage from anyone else because I actually was in that swamp in Austin, and I’ve got great, great plans to secure the border, lower your property taxes and get rid of them entirely, and to give you confidence in the election. It’s gonna be a new day in Texas with the Huffines administration.”

Don Huffines served one term in the Texas Senate from 2015 to 2019. He lost his bid for...
Don Huffines served one term in the Texas Senate from 2015 to 2019. He lost his bid for reelection in 2018.(Blake Holland/KLTV)

Among the topics addressed at Friday night’s forum: how the candidates plan to take on education legislation filed by Democratic lawmakers.

“It is time that Republicans stop bringing a plastic spoon to a gunfight because that’s what we continue to do,” West said. “When you look at what is happening in Texas, Texas is 46 or 47th in education in the nation. That’s not something we should be proud of.”

Allen West is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who represented Florida's 22nd...
Allen West is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who represented Florida's 22nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013. West also served as chairman of the Republican Party of Texas from 2020 to 2021.(Blake Holland/KLTV)

“As long as we are allowing these lefty lunatic progressive wild-eyed woke mob people to have control and have a say in policy and particularly when it affects your children, it takes away the authority of the parent as the final say in the upbringing education,” said Prather.

“Patriots, this state is going blue,” Huffines said. “It’s going blue because of these very reasons right now. We have lost the culture war. We’ve lost the culture war because we don’t have courageous leadership in Austin willing to stand up and punch ‘em in the face.”

Three candidates with similar views, but very different personalities and backgrounds - all with the goal of defeating the incumbent governor. Abbott has yet to take on his challengers in a public debate or forum.

The last day to register to vote in the primary is Jan. 31, 2022. Early voting starts Feb. 14 and ends Feb. 25. Election Day is March 1, 2022.

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