Allen West, a transplanted one-term Florida congressman and right-wing provocateur, announced his resignation on Friday as chairman of the Texas Republican Party, possibly as a precursor to running for statewide office.
Mr. West, a former Army officer who was forced to retire after firing a handgun near the head of a prisoner in Iraq, said at a news conference in Whitehouse, Texas, that he was considering running for office.
“Maybe something congressional,” he suggested.
He had served in the job for less than a year.
In that short time, Mr. West — a Fox News fixture who attended an event in Dallas last month at which Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Donald J. Trump, suggested the United States could witness a military coup — has earned a reputation for taking on Democrats and Republicans with equal aplomb.
His spats with the state’s governor, Greg Abbott, over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick over gun legislation have led to speculation that he will mount a Trumpian challenge to one of them in the Republican primaries next March.
Texas, a bedrock red state rapidly becoming a battleground, is the site of an intraparty fight between the conservative establishment and media-savvy firebrands like Mr. West, who think Mr. Abbott and Mr. Patrick are not going far enough to the right.
On Friday, Mr. West, 60, told a conservative Texas radio station that he was considering a challenge to Mr. Abbott but was praying on the matter before making up his mind, according to The Dallas Morning News.
A spokesman for the governor’s campaign said that Mr. Abbott, who was elected comfortably in 2014 and 2018, was well positioned to win a third term no matter who ran against him. Don Huffines, a Republican former state senator from Dallas, has already said that he will challenge Mr. Abbott.
“It is now clear that @AllenWest’s entire tenure as @TexasGOP chair was intended to do only what many suspected: Provide him a platform for his political future, not an opportunity to build the party,” wrote Matt Mackowiak, a veteran Republican operative who leads the Republican Party in Travis County, home to Austin. “What is he running for?”
Mr. West, who will remain at the party’s helm until his successor is chosen next month, wrote that it had been “a distinct honor to serve as Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas,” posting a brief statement on the state party website to announce the end of his tenure.