DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Retired Lt. Colonel and former Florida Congressman Allen West unseated James Dickey as Texas Republican Party Chairman in the early hours of Monday morning.
During an interview later Monday morning, West said people are looking for a courageous voice to stand up.
"This is kind of a line in the sand moment here in the great state of Texas. It's very clear that you can stand on the side of the rule of law, or you can stand with the rule of the mob, and I think more people would rather stand with the rule of law."
It's part of a larger debate this election he said between progressives and conservatives.
"Do we want to go down the path and Texas as you know, wealth redistribution and nationalize our economic production, do we want to decimate our oil and gas industry, do we want to have more people on the welfare nanny state rolls, or do we want to, as I said, have economic empowerment."
President Donald Trump praised West in a tweet Monday morning saying, "Congratulations Allen, great job!"
In a statement, the Communications Director of the Texas Democratic Party, Abhi Rahman denounced West saying, "We're disgusted, but not surprised that Texas Republicans chose a certified racist conservative hardliner like Allen West as their new chairman."
In response, West said, "For the Democrats to call me racist, I find that very disgusting. I find that despicable. I find it offensive and condescending. But that's the politics of the left that we see today."
West's election comes as some Republicans have sharply criticized Governor Abbott for his order requiring people to wear masks.
At least eight county Republican parties have voted to censure the Governor because of it.
West said, "Well, I think that you find a lot of people in the grassroots are a little bit feel that they have been disaffected. They want to see, you know, here in the great State of Texas, a Republican Governor and Republican elected officials that stand up for these principles and values that they elected them to stand up for."
In a video played during the virtual state Republican Convention last week, Governor Abbott acknowledged the criticism of his executive orders among Republicans. "I know that many of you do not like the mask requirement. I don't either. I will never abandon the Constitution and I haven't here."
Governor Abbott not only defended himself but also said there's far more that unites Republicans - especially during the upcoming Presidential election. "Joe Biden and the Democrats, they want to cancel conservative speech. They want to grab your guns and tax your churches. They want to dismantle the greatest economy the world has ever known."
Various polls in Texas have shown a tight race between the President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
West said the polls are skewed, but highlight the need for Republicans to be energized."I think the most important thing is that you get out there and you play hard all the way down to the last second till the zeros on scoreboard."
West said he had challenged Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa to a series of Lincoln-Douglass style debates about policy.
Rahman of the Texas Democratic Party said, "Voters want solutions on who is going to handle the coronavirus crisis, bring back jobs to Texas, and expand healthcare to millions of uninsured Texans across the state. Allen West wants a sideshow rodeo."
West said his first priority is to go to the Rio Grande Valley this weekend to spread the Texas Republican Party's message.
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