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Former Republican state Sen. Don Huffines announces Texas governor bid

Election 2022 Texas Governor GOP
FILE – In this Jan. 15, 2015 file photo, then-Texas Sen. Don Huffines speaks during a news conference in Austin, Texas. Huffines, a former state senator from Dallas who has sharply criticized Texas’ handling of the pandemic, said Monday, May 10, 2021 he will challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in 2022.  (Deborah Cannon/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File) Deborah Cannon/AP

Former Republican state Sen. Don Huffines announces Texas governor bid

May 10, 01:32 PM May 10, 01:32 PM

Former GOP state Sen. Don Huffines announced his intent to run for Texas governor on Monday, challenging the spot held by Greg Abbott, a fellow Republican.

“For decades, politicians have promised to secure our border, to lower our property taxes, and to protect election integrity, but year after year, nothing gets done,” Huffins said in a video announcing his campaign. “I’m tired of being lied to. We all are. That’s why I’m running for Texas governor. I’m Don Huffines. As your governor, I will secure our border and finish the wall. Since the federal government won’t do it, I can guarantee you Texas will.”

Huffines, who lost his state Senate seat in 2018 to Democrat Nathan Johnson after serving one term, did not mention Abbott in his announcement, though the wealthy businessman has been an outspoken critic of the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in its beginning stages. In 2020, Huffines slammed Abbott for implementing COVID-19 restrictions such as mask mandates and business closures.

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“It is time to face the facts: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has not been a leader in the coronavirus crisis,” he wrote in an April 2020 op-ed. “He has relinquished his responsibilities to local governments, and in his own words, acknowledged he is looking to Washington for guidance. This is a very disappointing and un-Texan response.”

“Fear of the virus is real and understandable, but being unemployed and financially destitute is even more real and consequential,” he continued. “Most Texans live by each paycheck and are angry and panicked about their financial security. The unintended consequences of the destruction of the Texas economy are almost unimaginable … poverty, mental health issues, suicide, and crime, just to name a few.”

Until early March of this year, the Lone Star State was subjected to a statewide mask mandate and a host of capacity restrictions. Abbott lifted the protocols and vowed to reopen Texas “100%.”

“This must end,” the governor said at the time. “It is now time to open Texas 100%. Everybody who wants to work should have that opportunity. Every business that wants to be open should be open.”

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“I am issuing a new executive order that rescinds most of the earlier executive orders. Effective next Wednesday, all businesses of any type are allowed to open 100%. That includes any type of entity in Texas. Also, I am ending the statewide mask mandate,” he continued.

In January, Abbott reported having nearly $38 million in campaign cash, an amount that would serve as a steep barrier to challengers both Republican and Democrat. Bids have been considered by former Texas Rep. and Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke as well as Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey.

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