Former Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) announced he would challenge Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in the Republican primary.

Defining himself as an “actual Republican,” Huffines said he is “tired of being lied to” by elected Republicans. “Texans are running out of time to root out corruption and reclaim our great state,” he said. Huffines pledged to secure the border, “finish the wall,” eliminate property taxes and “expose voter fraud and finally enforce laws that protect your vote.”

Huffines would be the most organized and well-funded primary challenger Abbott has faced in his 25 years as a statewide elected official. Abbott received 90% of the vote against two opponents in the 2018 primary and 91% against three opponents in the 2014 primary. He was unopposed in five previous statewide primary elections.

Huffines, a real estate developer, raised $1.9M and spent $3.2M in his successful 2014 campaign for SD16, which saw him unopposed in the general election after ousting Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas), 51%-49%, in the primary. For his unsuccessful re-election bid in 2018, Huffines raised $2.5M and spent $3.7M. He was unopposed in the primary and lost to Nathan Johnson, 54%-46%, in the general election. Abbott’s campaign contributed at least $161K to Huffines’s campaign that year. Abbott ended 2020 with $40.4M on hand.

Abbott enjoys broad support among Republicans, according to the latest Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. “Extremely” conservative respondents gave Abbott a 79/12 job approval rating, and “strong” Republicans gave him an 83/10 rating. Asked about Abbott’s handling of the pandemic, 80% of “strong” Republicans approved, 48% “strongly.” Huffines was a featured speaker at an October rally outside the Governor’s Mansion criticizing Abbott’s Covid-19 policies.

CD6 special: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will canvass the special election results on Wednesday. He then has five days to order a runoff election, which will be sometime in July.

CD30 “open”: Jane Hamilton, who was state director for the Biden campaign last year, established a committee to explore a run for the seat expected to be vacated by U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas). She is at least the third Democrat to take a formal step toward running, and former Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway (D-Dallas), who has lost five consecutive challenges of Johnson, has an active committee.

LTGOV: Former President Trump endorsed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) for re-election. Patrick was Trump’s state chair for both of his presidential campaigns.

Fort Worth: Mayoral runoff candidate Deborah Peoples announced she was resigning as Tarrant Co. Democratic Party chair.

Granbury: Mayor Nin Hulett has resigned following his arrest last month on a driving while intoxicated charge. He was first elected mayor in 2013 following previous service as a council member. The council is expected to call a special election in June to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in November 2022.

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