West was born in Atlanta, GA. West joined the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program in the tenth grade and entered the United States Army in 1983 after he graduated from the University of Tennessee. West was a member of the third of four consecutive generations in his family to serve in the United States armed forces.
West received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Tennessee and his master’s degree in political science from Kansas State University. He also earned a master of military arts and sciences degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer College in political theory and military history and operations. His career experience includes working as an author and speaker.
2022 battleground election
Eight candidates are running in the Republican primary election for Governor of Texas on March 1, 2022. Three candidates—incumbent Greg Abbott, Don Huffines, and Allen West—have received the most media attention. 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 interparty 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 his or her 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 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,” and said, as governor, he “achieved significant to build a safer, freer, and more prosperous future for Texas.”
Huffines was a member of the Texas Senate representing the Dallas-area District 16 from 2015 to 2019. At the time of the primary, he owned Huffines Communities, 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.”
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 lieutenant colonel. During the coronavirus pandemic, West said, “[T]he leadership in Austin was complicit in shutting down businesses, enforcing illegal mandates, and undermining the rights of Texans.”
A candidate winning more than 50% of the vote automatically advances to the Nov. 8 general election. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two candidates will advance to a primary runoff.