Straight on the heels of his high-profile dustup with Dr. Anthony Fauci, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is weighing in on the race for Texas governor.
“It is my pleasure to endorse my friend Don Huffines for governor of Texas. I have known Don for over 20 years. He is a loyal, steadfast fighter for limited, constitutional government,” said Paul.
Huffines, a former state senator from the Dallas area, is challenging Governor Greg Abbott from the right in the 2022 Republican Primary. Criticizing the incumbent for shutting down the Texas economy during the Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the keystones of Huffines’ campaign.
It is unusually for a U.S. Senator to endorse a primary challenger to an sitting governor of his own party. Paul’s endorsement of Abbott’s challenger highlights the significant difference in policy between the two Republicans when it comes to Covid-19.
Huffines’ longtime connection to Paul and his father, former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) has been well known. Huffines was a supporter of the Kentucky Senator’s presidential campaign in 2016. That election was ultimately won by Donald Trump, who has endorsed Abbott for re-election.
Huffines and Paul have many similarities as politicians: both are sincere and deeply committed ideologues hailing from he libertarian wing of the GOP. Despite their libertarian roots, both have tapped into very Trumpy, populist rhetoric as they attempt to navigate Republican politics in the era of Trump.
Paul himself has deep roots in Texas, having grown up in Lake Jackson and attended Baylor University.
“Rand Paul is one of the strongest and most effective champions of conservative principles in the nation, and it is an honor to have him join our fight to bring actual Republican leadership to the State of Texas,” said Huffines. “We look forward to working with Rand to drain the Austin swamp and restore accountable government. No more RINOs.”
Although defeating Abbott is a near-insurmountable uphill climb, Paul’s endorsement is indicative of the nation attention the Texas gubernatorial primary is garnering. The Huffines campaign is serious, and if he can keep the momentum going Abbott may have a real contest on his hands.