Conservative firebrand West resigns as Texas Republican leader

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump arrives at Midland International Air and Space Port in Midland, Texas
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By Brad Brooks

LUBBOCK, Texas (Reuters) - Allen West, the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas and a conservative firebrand, said on Friday he was resigning after less than a year on the job.

A former one-term Florida congressman and darling of the Tea Party movement, West will remain in his role until a new leader is chosen next month, the state's Republican party said in a statement. No reason for his resignation was given.

West, a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump, has sharply criticized other Republican leaders in Texas during his tenure as party chairman, including Governor Greg Abbott.

West has said he is mulling a challenge against Abbott next year, despite Abbott having earlier this week won the endorsement of Trump for his reelection bid. There is speculation that West may also try for a congressional seat or the lieutenant governor spot.

The Republican Party of Texas said in its statement that West "will take this opportunity to prayerfully reflect on a new chapter in his already distinguished career" and hailed him as a "bulwark against progressive socialism."

Last weekend West delivered remarks at the "For God & Country Patriot Roundup" in Dallas that featured Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and other proponents of the Q-Anon conspiracy theory.

West, who has lived in Texas since 2014, spent 22 years in the Army and was a battalion commander during the Iraq war. He was relieved of his command in 2003 and fined $5,000 after firing a gun near an Iraqi man's head during an interrogation.

(Reporting by Brad Brooks; editing by Grant McCool)