Some Texas Republicans view the 2022 Texas gubernatorial GOP primary as a "critical juncture in the fight for the future" of the Republican Party, The New York Times reports.
There's some speculation that the primaries could turn into a legitimate battleground, a smaller version of the split between former President Donald Trump's contingent within the GOP and the party's more traditional wing. The incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott (R) gets along well with Trump, but his COVID-19 requirements throughout the pandemic have led to some skepticism about where he stands in the eyes of Republican voters, who may back someone more closely aligned with the former president.
Luke Macias, a consultant who has worked with many of Texas' conservative legislators, told the Times that Abbott "comes from the George W. Bush-John McCain-Mitt Romney school of Republicans who have run a pretty successful con game where you don't actually need to provide tangible policy results in order to run on a conservative platform. And Trump messed that up. What you're seeing now is this shift of Republicans, saying 'We know exactly what we're looking for.'"
Texas' Trump-allied Attorney General Ken Paxton, meanwhile, wouldn't commit to supporting Abbott in a primary, which he told the Times consists of candidates "running their own race." "I don't think he supports me; I don't support him," Paxton told the Times (he later denied the comments on Tuesday after the Times article was published.)
Abbott still has strong support, however; Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, whom the Times notes "has endured intermittent friction" with the governor, took himself out of the running and said he hopes no one challenges him. Read more about the state of the Texas GOP at The New York Times.