If you happen to ask any of Chad Prather’s fiercely loyal West Texas supporters why they are backing his campaign, you will quickly see a few common themes emerge: the first is pointing out that he is not like the typical politician, and secondly that his commonsense approach and unscripted honesty are qualities Texas voters are hungry for.
The campaign trail brought Prather to the cities of Odessa and Midland this past week, and Odessa Headlines sat down with Prather to discuss his bid to represent Texans as their next Governor.
The 48-year-old Fort Worth Republican has always had a natural talent to entertain audiences, a skill that led to a highly successful career as a humorist, TV personality, musician, and “armchair philosopher” – having performed all over the world, and in addition to being an internet sensation with his viral videos, he hosts the Chad Prather Show on the Blaze TV.
Born in New Jersey and raised in Augusta Georgia, Prather quickly tied the story of his beginnings into his political platform.
“So, I got Texas in my DNA, and I’m a pro-life guy,” Prather said, and with a laugh unabashedly explaining that since he “was conceived in Dallas” and since “life begins at conception” – he’s got Texas DNA.
Prather attended both the University of Georgia and Columbia International University in South Carolina, where he studied seminary education. At age 30, he moved to Texas and hasn’t looked back.
Recalling the story that led him to run for Governor, Prather said that he had been a supporter of incumbent Governor Greg Abbott in the past, having voted for him twice. But he viewed Abbott’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as unconstitutional government overreach, among other issues.
It was while Prather was attending a Fourth of July celebration dinner at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota with Donald Trump Jr. that he says the news came through that Abbott had handed down yet another executive order, and it was then Prather said he had enough.
“So, July 2nd, I was in South Dakota and my phone went off. Greg Abbott hands out another mandate,” Prather explained, continuing, “[s]o I jumped on Twitter and said, I’m gonna run for governor in 2022. And I remember that tweet set off a firestorm.”
The next day, Prather said some were still waiting to see if there was a punch line to the tweet since he is known for frequently making jokes online.
“And I said, no, this is legit,” as Prather recalled, “we’re going to do this because somebody’s got to hold Abbott’s feet to the fire at some point on this because this is a governmental overreach of the highest degree, and he’s going to keep passing the buck and blaming this on the Biden Administration. And that’s just nonsense.”
Prather said he believes Abbott’s repeated violation of constitutional law is very much the motivating factor that caused him to be the first challenger in the 2022 Republican Primary.
“Greg Abbott’s violated the Constitution about 14 times in the last 18 months,” Prather said, pointing to Abbott’s orders that restricted free enterprise, deeming small businesses “non-essential,” and spending $295 million on a controversial “contact tracing” proposal.
Prather also drew ire with Abbott’s past efforts to incentivize big tech companies to move to Texas, companies Prather says that ultimately don’t hire Texans, and do not reflect our values while receiving our tax dollars in the form of subsidies.
“We’ve got to stop this big tech tyranny that’s going on, and Greg Abbott’s thrown the door open to Silicon Valley,” Prather said.
[W]e’ve got Facebook, Google, we’ve got Amazon on and on it goes. And this big tech tyranny and censorship is just an endless deal that has got to stop, and we can stop it.”
Prather also touched on the current vaccine mandate being pushed by major companies that have caused thousands of employees to lose their jobs, saying that when the big companies Abbott is focusing on bringing to Texas push these mandates on Texans, it makes no difference to them if someone loses their job – they will simply import someone to Texas to take their place.
“They’re going to call their cronies in California and bring (them) in here too. And so now what have you got? You got Californians doing jobs that were intended for Texans, and that’s not good at all.”
According to a public subsidies tracker, Texas is one of Facebook’s top sources of taxpayer subsidies – hauling in nearly $150 million.
Prather covered a considerable number of issues he is running on and passionate about in the rapid-fire style he is known for, starting with the importance of protecting oil and gas energy.
Prather was the only gubernatorial candidate to visit during the Permian Basin Oil Show in Odessa last week and pointed out he’s been an attendee of the show in prior years.
Describing his political identity as a conservative, free-market capitalist, Prather said he plans to push back against tyranny from among the many directions, including big government, big tech, and education.
Most importantly, Prather says it’s inexcusable the governor has failed to secure the southern border, saying that he (Abbott) only wants to blame Biden while crime runs unchallenged, jeopardizing the state.
“I’ve got a new phrase; let’s make the rest of Texas like West Texas, Prather said, speaking of his visit to Midland/Odessa, and elaborated that for him, Texas a spirit, and people either get it or they don’t.
“For me, it was instantaneous. I see the spirit of Texas as being a little bit larger than life and more contagious than anything we’ve ever known,” he said, describing how people are drawn to the freedom loving values Texas is known for.
Prather says he is planning on coming back to West Texas soon, but for now, he has a message for primary voters:
“Let’s make Texas the Texas we think it is. Let’s get the government out of our lives. Let’s make politics boring again. You know, it’s insane that we keep making these mental morons into political celebrities like AOC and Beto O’Rourke. Stop giving them a voice. Let’s get back to common sense, and let’s be logical again. Let’s be politically incorrect to get things done. Because let’s face it, the solutions to complex problems are going to require political incorrectness to solve…Let’s stop coddling everybody. This is Texas and not just Texas by God…Texas. We need to act like Texans.”
“I believe that Texas is worth fighting for. You know, Texas, since 1800 never mustered an army larger than a thousand men. We won our independence and became a Republic with less than a thousand fighting men. It doesn’t take much really in the grand scheme of things for real men to stand up. Let’s talk about religion and politics. Let’s get this stuff back on the table and it’s gonna take men to stand up. Texas is worth fighting for.”
Editor’s note: Odessa Headlines does not support or endorse any candidate in the race for Texas Governor. We invite all gubernatorial candidates who visit Odessa to sit down for an in-person interview to discuss their campaign.