Former Texas state Rep. Matt Rinaldi was elected chairman of the Republican Party of Texas Sunday. Rinaldi will finish out the term of former Chairman Allen West, who resigned ahead of announcing he will primary challenge Gov. Greg Abbott.
Rinaldi’s election is seen as a referendum on West’s divisive leadership, which stirred up GOP infighting on more than one occasion during his 10-month tenure as leader of the state party. West, a former Florida congressman who moved to Texas in 2014, viewed his job as holding Republican lawmakers accountable, even if that meant namecalling or protesting outside of the governor’s mansion.
When Republican Rep. Dade Phelan announced he had support from both Republicans and Democrats to run for Speaker of the House, West called him a “Republican political traitor.” West openly opposed Abbott and the governor’s pandemic response, namely the unconstitutional statewide mask mandate. In another challenge of Abbott’s emergency powers, West joined a lawsuit against Abbott in an