2022 Texas Republican primaries are already heating up with Donald Trump endorsing Governor Abbott
DALLAS – Former President Donald Trump’s influence is shaping up to be a big factor ahead of the 2022 Republican primaries in Texas.
Trump endorsed Gov. Greg Abbott this week, and another key statewide race could be greatly affected by what the former president has to say.
Some political observers say it is difficult to compare Trump with former presidents in terms of the extent of his influence over his party voters. And maybe gaining approval isn’t just about being ideologically aligned with him.
While there is still no evidence of widespread fraud in his 2020 loss, many people carry Donald Trump’s banner, and Republicans in Texas covet his approval.
“Having this imprimatur, this seal of approval from the former president gives you that head start,” said Matthew Wilson, professor of political science at SMU. “It gives you some credibility within Republican primary politics because we know that a large part of the Republican Party, especially those running in the primary elections, are loyal to Donald Trump.”
The former president has already weighed in on a statewide race that doesn’t even begin until next year by endorsing Gov. Abbott this week against challenger and former Dallas state senator Don Huffines .
In a statement, Huffines said: I am clearly candidate Trump … Texas primary voters and Trump voters will decide for themselves who will rule our state.
“The key thing to remember is that Trump’s endorsements seem to be less about ideology and politics than about personal relations with President Trump,” Wilson said. “So you don’t necessarily have to assume that the most aggressive Conservative candidate in each race will win Trump’s backing.”
The Trump factor is also gearing up to take center stage in the Texas attorney general race.
At an event Wednesday night in Austin, George P. Bush announced his candidacy and bragged about being the only Bush to back Trump.
AFTER: Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announces his candidacy for Attorney General against Ken Paxton
“You know President Trump was absolutely right when he said to empty the swamp. Does anyone remember that?” Bush said. “We need an attorney general who is above reproach and not charged with securities fraud and under FBI investigation for bribery and corruption.”
Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton chaired a coalition of pro-Trump lawyers in 2020 and led an unsuccessful attempt to challenge the election results. He spoke in a radio interview about a possible challenge from Bush last month.
âIt’s all political. George P is political, and that’s all it is about,â Paxton said. “He’s not going to fight me on issues because he’s not competent to do the job.”
Wilson says that while an endorsement from Trump is helpful, it is an attack by Trump that a Republican candidate must avoid.
âIt is not necessarily essential to have Trump’s support. However, it is quite important not to have Trump on your side,â Wilson said. “If Trump is actively working against you and actively lambasting you on social media or in public speeches, he’s a real albatross to wear for a Republican candidate.”
Paxton’s campaign spokesperson issued a statement in response to Bush’s announcement. He said Paxton would continue to protect “President Trump’s first American principles”.