AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A federal campaign committee filed on Saturday titled ‘Greg Abbott Presidential Campaign’ was not created on behalf of the third-term Texas governor, a spokesperson with Abbott’s office told Nexstar Sunday.
The campaign committee was filed with the Federal Election Commission on Saturday, which also happened to be April Fools’ Day.
Renae Eze, communications director for the governor, confirmed to Nexstar via text that it was not filed by Abbott’s campaign. When asked to confirm or deny the campaign committee’s legitimacy, Eze said, “It’s not us,” in a text to Nexstar.
The filing lists ‘Greg Wayne Abbott’ as the candidate’s full name for the campaign committee. The Texas governor’s real full name is Gregory Wayne Abbott. It’s worth noting that during the last gubernatorial primary race in 2022, Abbott faced opposition from a man named Rick Perry, who was not the same person as Gov. Rick Perry, who preceded Abbott as Texas’ top leader.
Saturday’s filing lists a man by the name of John Grayson Dyer as the campaign’s custodian of records and treasurer. Nexstar could not find any person with this name who had ties to Gov. Abbott’s office and campaign. Dave Carney, Abbott’s chief strategist, said in an email to Nexstar he has “never heard of the guy,” when asked if there were any ties between Dyer and Abbott’s world.
A number listed for Dyer on the FEC filing traces back to an Arby’s fast food restaurant in Grand Prairie.
In the FEC’s candidate guide, it has an example of the Candidate Registration form. At the bottom of the form, it clearly lists that a false submission is a violation of federal elections law, saying, “NOTE: Submission of false, erroneous, or incomplete information may subject the person signing this Statement to penalties of 52 U.S.C. §30109.”
The 2024 Republican field
It comes as the 2024 presidential race is heating among Republican hopefuls. So far, three GOP candidates have decided to challenge former President Donald Trump, who announced he would again seek a second-term last November.
But the former president’s unprecedented indictment will likely widen the field of Republican hopefuls, positioning themselves as conservative alternatives as Trump faces mounting legal battles.
On Sunday, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced he would seek the nation’s highest office in hopes of offering the GOP an alternative candidate to the embattled former president. Hutchinson had said the “worst scenario” for his party would be another Trump presidential nomination.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is also running, branding herself as “anti-woke” and a “bad— woman” and part of a new generation of Republicans. Haley has been less quick to criticize the former president, as one of the few Cabinet officials who departed the Trump administration, and her position as Ambassador to the United Nations, with little turmoil or scandal.
A third candidate, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, is also positioning himself as an anti-woke conservative who can serve as an “outsider” alternative to Republican voters.
Will Gov. Abbott run for president?
Back in February, a top campaign adviser to Abbott said they were still weighing the decision, contemplating if there is a “lane” for the Texas governor in a national bid for president.
As speculation mounts over whether Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will throw his hat in the ring, so has the comparison between him and Abbott. Both Florida and Texas have been ground zero for conservative policy, with Abbott and DeSantis leading conversations around the nation’s latest culture wars, whether it’s issues of parental rights in schools or what teams transgender athletes can play on.
A Fox News poll released in February found Trump getting 43% of Republican primary votes in 2024. DeSantis trailed behind him with 28%, and Abbott was much farther back, with 2%.
Carney said in an email to Nexstar that nothing has changed since February, when he told reporters in a press call that the campaign was still considering Abbott’s presidential future. He said the hoax campaign filing has “no impact of our timing,” in regards to making an announcement.