In this interview, Texas Scorecard sits down with former state senator and current gubernatorial candidate Don Huffines. The gubernatorial candidate gives his behind-the-scenes perspective of why conservative legislation often fails to pass and what he would do about it if he is elected governor.
A Brief Biography
A fifth-generation Texan and self-described “God-fearing patriot,” former State Sen.Don Huffines was raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Huffines ran for the Texas Senate in 2013 after “getting tired of yelling at [his] TV,” following a career in real estate development. In 2018, as part of the Democrat sweep of Dallas County, Huffines lost his seat. A consistent critic of Gov. Greg Abbott, who he called “an elitist know-it-all,” Huffines announced his gubernatorial run in May of this year.
Huffines criticized Abbott’s executive overreach during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the shutdown that cost many Texans their jobs and businesses. He said that thanking Abbott for removing the mask mandate was like “thanking a thief for bringing your stolen goods back.” Huffines added that the shutdown and mask mandates were outside the realm of the governor’s constitutional authority.
When asked how he would have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic if he had been governor in March 2020, Huffines acknowledged that while the government does have a role in informing the public and encouraging proper precautions (such as handwashing and distancing), he would never require masks, nor does he believe that the government has a role in closing schools or businesses. According to Huffines, the purpose of government is “defending your God-given liberties.” Since U.S. officials swear allegiance to the Constitution, Huffines said “the fundamental role of government is to defend us from government.”
Regarding vaccine mandates being handed down from the federal government as well as employers, Huffines said he would “never let employers in Texas do that,” adding that there is “no reason why the state shouldn’t push back on the federal government.”
Huffines says he welcomes a fight with the federal government on many fronts, including in the culture wars, adding that he is “committed to putting prayer back in schools.”
“I dare the federal government to come in and send the prayer police in.”
In regards to the invasion of illegal aliens through Texas’ southern border, Huffines promises to finish Trump’s wall and deploy the Texas military to secure the border if he is elected.
“The federal government will never secure the border,” said Huffines, adding that he would “never ask permission from the federal government to secure the border.” By using the language of Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, which provides the states the right to defend themselves against an invasion if the federal government fails to aid them, Huffines intends to secure the border despite any pushback from the Biden administration.
Huffines also intends to force Mexico to secure their side of the border by returning “all illegals to the Mexican side of the river.” Another economic incentive for Mexico’s compliance would be Huffines’ plan to halt all commercial traffic coming over the Rio Grande.
When asked how he would advance pro-life legislation through Texas, building on the Heartbeat Act, Huffines said, “I won’t rest until I knew that there were no more abortions.”
Huffines, who has advocated for abortion abolition, made clear his belief in life “from conception to natural death, with no exceptions,” adding that “a person is still a person” whether they are at 6 months gestation or 60 years old.
Texas has one of the highest property tax burdens in the nation. According to Huffines, “Texans are tired of renting their property from the government,” especially when “the rent just keeps going up and up.”
“It’s a bad way to fund government,” he added.
Huffines’ plan for tax relief involves capping state spending in order to provide property tax relief while phasing out the use of property taxes over the course of eight years. Huffines said he plans to do so by utilizing a constitutional amendment so that “when we cut the head off the snake, it can’t come back.”
He also indicated he would be in favor of gradually swapping property taxes with an increased consumption tax.
The Path Ahead
When asked how he intends to compete as a challenger against Abbott’s campaign war chest, Huffines said he continues to raise plenty of funds. “I’ve already raised more money for a statewide challenger than any statewide challenger in the last 15 years in a Republican primary.”
In regards to how Huffines feels about competing against Chad Prather, Allen West, and Abbott, Huffines said he thinks the company draws attention to the race as a whole. “I think it draws a lot of attention that we have to get rid of Abbott.”
No matter the challenger, Huffines said he is “in this to win.”
“We have a chance to save the U.S.A. We are the cavalry. We’re 911 and the call’s been made. We all have to step up and do something.”
Huffines promised, “I’m gonna prove to the whole world what it means to be sovereign. We won’t bend a knee, because this is Texas.”
Interview summary written by Sydnie Henry.