Texas Governor Greg Abbott is running for President of the United States.
This weekend, someone took the first step for Abbott by filing the “Greg Abbott President Campaign,” with the Federal Election Commission, which allows candidates to officially solicit donations and engage in other campaign and fundraising activities.
The statement of organization for the campaign committee was filed on April Fool’s Day, which gives us some pause. If it is the work of an errant prankster, they did their best to sell the bit: the filing uses the same Austin PO Box that Abbott’s Texas campaign has used for years.
We’re still awaiting confirmation that the filing is legitimate, but Abbott has had his eyes on the oval office for years, becoming an increasingly conservative stalwart in Trump-era culture wars and moving further to the right with each passing legislative session.
Abbott would have his work cut out for him on the national stage. He has consistently polled in the super-low single digits if he’s registered any support at all (what I call Kucinich territory) in publicly available polling, not far behind Ted Cruz but nowhere near viability.
What lane could Abbott take up in a 2024 presidential primary? It’s too early to tell. Given his long track record of bowing to former President Donald Trump, it seems unlikely that he would take a page out of former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s playbook. Hutchinson, a former federal prosecutor fed up with what Trump has done to the Republican Party, announced his candidacy this weekend and called on Trump to drop out of the race.
While Abbott lacks the integrity to do something like that, he also lacks a compelling rationale for why he should hold the highest office in the land. While he often touts the state’s track record in creating jobs and attracting businesses to the state, Abbott’s recent vision for Texas would terrify most of America.
Under Abbott’s leadership, Texas has staked out some of the most extreme positions on abortion in the nation, rolled back voting rights in ways that we haven’t seen since the 1960s, and devoted more energy to banning books than fixing our grumbling schools.
Abbott did it all to become a darling to the Fox News crowd. With Trump under indictment and Fox News facing a $1.6 billion defamation suit for spreading Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, it remains to be seen how Abbott can get himself above his high watermark of 2 percent in the polls, if the filing is legit.
If this filing, which did hit the FEC website on April 1st, turns out to be nothing more than a prank…kudos to whoever pulled it off, but might we suggest seeking legal counsel? It is a federal crime to file a false committee with the FEC.
Update: After posting this story, a Twitter user let us know that the phone number used in the filing directs you to an Arby’s at the address listed as for the treasurer. This all seems to be a big, tasty prank.
Joe brings over a decade of experience as a political operative and creative strategist to Texas Signal, where he serves as our Senior Advisor and does everything from writing a regular column, Musings, to mentoring our staff and freelancers. Joe was campaign manager for Lina Hidalgo's historic 2018 victory for Harris County Judge and is a passionate sneakerhead.