While Beto O’Rourke is already shaping up to be a solid enough contender for the Texas gubernatorial race that right-wing media already feels the need to make up scandals about him, the race itself just got a bit more interesting. Gov. Greg Abbott, who faced significant backlash for his disastrous mishandling of the blizzard that claimed lives in the state earlier this year and left millions with no power or heat in the dead of winter, is now facing a primary challenger to his right: former House Rep. Allen West who is also the former chairman of the Texas Republican Party.
West, a notorious Tea Party Republican who has a long history of making controversial and inflammatory remarks in his short political career, just made his candidacy official after setting off a controversy over a potential conflict of interest.
One of the problems with facing a primary challenger in a given election is that it makes party unity much more difficult, and risks losing voters in the middle at the worst possible time. It doesn’t help that now West has strong establishment credentials, despite his astounding ignorance on just about any given issue.
Whether or not he’s a credible threat remains to be determined – but it does guarantee that the mishandling of the blizzard will be an issue that gets talked about throughout the election, and Beto doesn’t have to do a thing to keep prompting it, which leaves him the opening he needs to offer a new path for the state, and giving down ballot legislative candidates an issue to run on.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making