Allen West clinched the position of party leader for the Texas Republicans early Monday morning, ousting James Dickey, who was first elected to the position in 2017.
Retired Army Lt. Col. West won 22 state Senate districts to Dickey’s four and claimed victory around 3:30 a.m, according to the Statesman News Network. Five districts are yet to report.
Dickey handed off the convention gavel to West at a noon ceremony, the outlet said, formally withdrawing from the race.
“Please consider yourself to be a very important counselor and mentor to me,” West told Dickey, “because I know how to jump out of airplanes, but I’m gonna learn to be a pretty good chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.”
West, who had his roots in the Tea Party movement, criticized the governor during an address to the convention on Saturday, according to the Statesman News Network. He spoke from the San Jacinto Monument, which marks the 1836 battle for Texas independence.
“Today there’s a new battleground, there’s a new battlefield, and it’s really not too much different from what they faced — the despotism, the tyranny that we see in the great state of Texas, where we have executive orders and mandates, people telling us what we can and cannot do, who is essential, who is not essential,” West said.
West’s comments were seen as a direct attack on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who had recently defended his pandemic regulations, despite many residents opposing them.
“The reality is that Allen West took a direct swipe at the governor in his speech to the delegates in telling them, this is why you need to vote for me,” Republican political consultant Luke Macias told the Statesman News Network. “And that’s what the delegates were looking for, they were looking for someone who still stands up and says, ‘Enough,’ and Allen West stood up and said, ‘I will be that person for you,’ and that’s what the grassroots wanted.”
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