By Phillip Williams
Don Huffines, one of seven Republicans challenging Gov. Greg Abbott’s bid for re-election in the March 1 GOP primary, assailed Abbott’s record and touted conservative positions in an address last week to East Texans for Liberty near Gilmer.
Huffines, who addressed about 45-50 attendees Jan. 24 at Barbwire Halo Cowboy Church, was the second GOP gubernatorial candidate to speak to ET4L as Allen West did so a few months ago. Others running are Rick Perry (not the Rick Perry who is past governor), Kandy Kaye Horn, Chad Prather, Paul Belew and Danny Harrison.
A businessman and former state senator who said he would not accept a salary as governor criticized Abbott’s handling in 2020 of the COVID-19 outbreak, saying that “in one day, King Greg put three million Texans out of work” by ordering the shutdown of what were termed non-essential businesses. “And then he closed our churches,” said Huffines, a claim which GOP State Rep. Cole Hefner recently disputed.
Huffines also faulted Abbott’s issue of an executive order that citizens wear COVID masks for months, saying, “I never would’ve done that” as it involves “your medical liberty.” In addition, the speaker also said, “I would never let anybody in Texas be forced to take a vaccine.”
Huffines said his own 27-year-old pregnant daughter was ticketed for trespassing when she refused to don a mask in church and that “I blame it on our governor.” He termed Abbott “a 30-year career politician” who “never had a primary opponent” and is “trying to figure out what he’s for and what he isn’t
“Is the border secure? Are your property taxes going away?” Huffines asked. “Are we winning the culture war?” he added, saying he would “make sure we get prayer back in every classroom.”
He also pledged to secure the border by finishing former President Trump’s wall, and to phase out property taxes over 8-10 years partly by reducing state spending and increasing sales taxes, although not on groceries.
In addition, Huffines said Texans should have the right to vote on a constitutional amendment on property taxes because they are “tired of renting their property from the government.” Abolishing appraisal districts, which determine property values on which property taxes are based, would save money, he added.
On social issues, the candidate said he favored abolishing abortion, denounced the idea of transgendering, and opposed classes on critical race theory. “Education is about religion,” he said, arguing that removing Christianity from schools had caused legal abortion.
On another topic, Huffines also blasted some fellow members of his party, asking the audience if it had ever known a Texas Republican who didn’t say he was a conservative when “90% of them are liars.” He said he was ranked as one of the top three conservative senators during his four years in the state senate, where he refused the salary for the post.
He said his battle on most issues in the senate was with Republicans, and that he was denounced by “RINOS–Republicans in name only.” He charged Abbott is a RINO who made election fraud a misdemeanor, that RINOs run the state government in Austin, and blamed this on GOP members who would say at caucuses that “we gotta be sure the Democrats are gonna be happy” because the legislators are members of a “club.”
Huffines said a governor can get almost any bill passed, and, “We don’t get more done (legislatively on matters mentioned in the state Republican platform) because Abbott “doesn’t want it to be law.”