Governor Greg Abbott has made his first endorsement of a legislative challenger. On Monday, he announced he would be supporting incumbent Republican State Representative Sarah Davis’ GOP challenger Susanna Dokupil. That’s likely to cause more fraying among Texas Republicans.

Mike Ward, the Austin bureau chief for the Houston Chronicle, says the move is very rare.

“From what everybody says, Abbott is still smarting from criticism during the regular and special session over issues that he wanted to pass, that in this case Sarah Davis did not agree with him on, and the House leadership did not agree with him on.”

Ward says during the special session, Abbott said he would endorse the people who vote with him.

“So at some level, this might not come as too much of a surprise, but it’s very unusual for a governor to get involved in a House primary,” he says.

The endorsement comes as the Texas GOP is undergoing a rift between two sides of the party.

“The fear among some Republicans is that if Davis gets beat in the primary, that [Dokupil] will be too conservative for this district and they may elect a Democrat. But Abbott’s people say that they don’t think that’s going to happen.”

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