Texas GOP

Former Rep. Matt Rinaldi of Irving to Replace Allen West as Texas GOP Chair

Allen West resigned after 10 months as chair and announced a run for governor

State Rep Matt Rinaldi
NBC 5 News

Former Texas Rep. Matt Rinaldi is the next chairman of the Texas Republican Party.

He won the election Sunday to replace Allen West, who resigned after 10 months leading the GOP in Texas and announced his run for governor against Gov. Greg Abbott in early July.

Rinaldi lost re-election for his District 115 seat in the Texas House of Representatives in 2018 to Julie Johnson (D). The district includes most of Coppell and Farmers Branch, and parts of Carrollton, Addison, Irving and Lewisville.

He served as a state representative from 2015-19 as one of the most conservative members of the House.

The former legislator was most well-known for a 2017 incident in which he called ICE on protesters of anti-"sanctuary cities" bills before an altercation between Rinaldi and several Hispanic Democratic lawmakers ensued.

Thirty-four of the 64 members of the State Republican Executive Committee voted for Rinaldi in the election's first ballot.

West stepped down from the chairman position after a brief but combative 10 months.

The Associated Press's Paul J. Weber described West's role as "an activist chairman who eschewed the job’s usual role of party unity and instead used the platform to pressure and criticize Abbott and other top Republican leaders."

Rinaldi similarly was a critic of Abbott's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new chairman endorsed former Dallas State Senator Don Huffines (R) in the race for governor.

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