Incumbent Greg Abbott defeated seven other candidates in the Republican primary for governor of Texas on March 1, 2022, and will advance to the Nov. 8 general election. As of 10:30 p.m. EST, 68% of precincts had reported. Abbott led with 68% percent of the vote, followed by Allen West with 11.9% and Don Huffines with 11.2%. No other candidate had received more than 4% of the vote.
Reuters‘ Joseph Ax and Julia Harte wrote, “Abbott is facing at least two credible Republican rivals for the first time in his tenure,” referring to Huffines and West. The Houston Chronicle’s Jeremy Wallace wrote about intraparty conflicts over Abbott’s responses to the coronavirus, saying, “Abbott was the target of GOP-led protests for his early moves to allow mask mandates and restrict business operations.”
No incumbent governor in Texas has lost their party’s nomination since 1978 when Gov. Dolph Briscoe (D) lost to then-Attorney General John Hill (D). Republicans have won every gubernatorial election in Texas from 1994 to 2018 by an average margin of 16.9 percentage points.
Abbott was first elected governor in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018. Before becoming governor, Abbott was a justice on the Texas Supreme Court from 1996 to 2001. He also served three terms as state attorney general from 2002 to 2015. Abbott said he would “[continue] to build on his record as a strong conservative leader who fights to preserve Texas values.” He said, as governor, he “achieved significant legislative victories to build a safer, freer, and more prosperous future for Texas.” Abbott received endorsements from President Donald Trump (R) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Huffines was a member of the Texas Senate representing the Dallas-area District 16 from 2015 to 2019. He owns a real-estate development company in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Huffines said Abbott was not conservative enough and that “Texans deserve a real leader who delivers actual results rather than lies,” adding that he would “finish the wall, secure our elections, and ban vaccine mandates.” Huffines received endorsements from former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
West represented Florida’s 22nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013. West was elected chairman of the Republican Party of Texas in 2020 and held the position until resigning in 2021 to run for governor. Before entering politics, West was a member of the U.S. Army from 1983 to 2004, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. West said that, during the coronavirus pandemic, “[T]he leadership in Austin was complicit in shutting down businesses, enforcing illegal mandates, and undermining the rights of Texans.” West received endorsements from former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Grassroots America: We The People.
Also running in the primary were Paul Belew, Daniel Harrison, Kandy Kaye Horn, Rick Perry, and Chad Prather.