On Wednesday, retired Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Victor Avila declared his candidacy for Texas land commissioner, running as a Republican.

In his announcement, he said:

I am running to finish what President Trump started. As Texas Land Commissioner, Texas will complete President Trump’s wall, with or without federal support.

As an agent, Avila and his partner Jaime Zapata were ambushed by the Los Zetas Cartel. Avila was severely wounded, while Zapata did not survive the attack. Since then, Avila has written a book detailing what he believes are the necessary steps to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, and he has frequently been featured in national and state media outlets as a subject matter expert on border security.

Avila went on to describe the reason for his candidacy:

Amid all these crises it has become clear that Austin is no longer working for Texas, but for themselves. Electing another career politician to serve as land commissioner will not change anything. Texas needs a bonafide outsider who is unafraid to take on the establishment. I am proud to be that outsider, and I am ready to fight for you in Austin.

The Texas General Land Office is charged with managing—among other things—the curation of the Alamo, disaster relief, Texas veteran benefits, and 13 million acres of public land.

The Incumbent and Other Declared Candidates

The current land commissioner is George P. Bush (R), who announced his candidacy for Texas attorney general in June.

Avila joins several other Republican candidates already in the race for the position, including current State Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R–Lakeway), who announced her candidacy in June and boasts the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. Candidates also include Bexar County activist Weston Martinez, former U.S. congressional candidate Dr. Jon Spiers, and business consultant Ben Armenta.

Whoever wins the Republican primary election will have to face off against one of several Democrat candidates who have already filed, including conservationist Jay Kleburg of the King Ranch.

What is Next?

The candidate filing deadline is Monday, December 13, so it is still possible that additional candidates are forthcoming. The primary election is currently scheduled for March 1, 2022.

Jeramy Kitchen

Jeramy Kitchen serves as the Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard as well as host of 'This Week in Texas', a show previewing the week ahead in Texas politics. After managing campaigns for conservative legislators across the state, serving as Chief of Staff for multiple conservative state legislators, and serving as Legislative Director for the largest public policy think tank in Texas, Jeramy moved outside of the Austin bubble to focus on bringing transparency to the legislative process.