Hallelujah! My final full State Republican Executive Committee meeting was held this past weekend in Austin. We will meet once more–just prior to the beginning of the Convention, but that will be a short meeting to approve the final Convention arrangements. For those that have endured my reports from all the meetings for the past eight years, thanks for sticking with me on this.
Today, you have your final long blog from me about our Party business. One of you called these updates my “epistles” and it made me laugh. The Delegates at the Texas GOP Convention June 14-16 in San Antonio will elect my replacement, and I wish her the joy I’ve had in my service to you.
I’ve gotten so many questions about the 2018 State Convention that we’ll start with that today. Registration is not yet open for Delegates, Alternate Delegates and Guests—opening the Registration depends on when all the Senate Districts get their completed lists to the Republican Party of Texas and all that information is entered into that database. What I do know is that members of the Grassroots Club will be given a 48 hour advance access ahead of everyone else. It is not too late to join that group! For only $99 a year, or $8.25 a month, you may keep our party grassroots strong. http://www.grassrootsclub.com
Convention Hotels: There are rooms blocked at the Grand Hyatt, The Hyatt Regency, and the Menger Hotel (and three others). Only after you have gone through the Delegate, Alternate or Guest Registration will you have access to those hotel lists and the Convention special prices.
The theme for our San Antonio Convention is “Texas Our Texas.” Each Senate District has been asked to have a local artist do a poster representing our local culture for display at the Convention. If you know of a local artist willing to do this (as a volunteer, not a paid project), please let me know. There will be voting and an award for the best Senate District’s poster.
Speaking of Convention: We will be having a Senate District 8 and Collin County SD 30 Convention Training event on Monday, May 21, at Collin College, 2800 E. Spring Creek Pkwy, Plano, 7 pm– 9:30 pm. All Delegates, Alternate Delegates and Volunteers are encouraged to attend. No registration needed, just show up! I’ve just confirmed that the amazing Richard Hayes will be doing our Parliamentary Procedure training again this year.
The Convention cost is an estimated $1.5 million, and $500,000 has been collected so far. The rest of the expense will need to be covered by additional sponsors and also our Delegate registration fees.
Now on to the rest of the SREC meeting and Party news:
The RPT is still paying all bills to zero each month with money left in the bank. Last week we had a major Spring fundraiser that was very successful. This brings the operating funds of the Party (not counting our restricted accounts such as Primary and Candidate Resource Committee funds) to a $548,484 balance. Including the other funds, that balance is $1,257,000. By the way, we had our annual independent audit report and we had a clean report again this year. Proud of this record while I’ve been serving.
Our Republican National Committee woman, Toni Anne Dashiell, reported that the month of February was a record-breaking month for the RNC, with $12.8 Million raised in just that one month! This brings the total for the 2017-2018 cycle to $157.7 million raised with no debt.
This is good news because according to National Committeeman Robin Armstrong, the 2018 races around the nation will be hard fought. The Democrats have targeted 101 Congressional Seats that they want to win—they only need 24 to take control of the House. We are also defending 9 United States Senate seats. Much of the battle will take place in the Gubernatorial races around the nation. Republicans have 13 incumbents that will be on the ballot and an additional 13 current Republican Governors that are not seeking another term. Democrats have 8 incumbents and 4 additional current Democrat Governors that are not running for re-election. The RNC plans to spend $1 million on these races.
Right here in Texas, three of the US Congressional races are targeted: Will Hurd, Pete Sessions and John Culberson’s seats. Additionally, the Democrats are looking to switch 10 Texas House seats. The Republican National Committee estimates that this will be the most expensive midterm election in the history around the United States. FYI: we lost ground in Dallas County in this Primary on U.S. House District 32, Pete Sessions’, Incumbent Primary race. More Democrats voted than Republicans in that seat’s Primary in Dallas County. The Collin County portion of that House District put our Republican primary vote totals over the Democrats, by only 1,100 votes. We need to get out there and WORK in both counties!
Speaking of Congress: Texas’s 27th Congressional District Congressman Blake Farenthold announced on Friday that he is resigning amid allegations of misbehavior. Replacing him in Washington is complicated: There must be a Special Election called (at least 36 days out) on the next uniform election date. This means that the May election is too soon for the filing to take place. This sort of Special Election is different: all candidates file and are on the ballot together, no matter their party affiliation. If any one candidate doesn’t get 50%, then it goes into a runoff. All this with this seat already up for grabs on the November ballot. By the way, this seat is already in the May 22 runoff – for both the Republican and Democrat nominees– from the March Primary. I’m glad I don’t live in that district.
It was our final meeting with Vice Chairman Amy Clark. I have great respect for her, and have enjoyed our friendship through the RPT. She was thanked by the full body on Saturday. She is not going away: her plans are to continue to serve alongside of us as a volunteer. Under her leadership we established #RPTServes. The next RPT Service day is on April 16-21, and we welcome all to help out. Go to the Texas GOP website to find opportunities in our area to make a difference.
Chairman James Dickey reported that 1,543,725 Republicans voted in our Texas Primary. This is a record for a midterm election. He also reported that we have had 3862 Republican candidates on the March Primary ballot—more than double the number of Democrats running in their primary. He also told us that there are 8,998 Delegates that have been elected to serve as Delegates to the Convention. By the way, Texas holds the largest political Convention in the world, with more Delegates than the National Convention.
We heard the plans to win in November from Kristy Wilkinson, our Texas State Director for the RNC and from the field staff that are working in Texas. The RNC has teams all over the state that are training volunteers and organizing workers to win. They have 14 paid staffers around the state. So far they have trained 857 people, have 47 neighborhood volunteer team leaders, and 150 other volunteers giving time each month. By the end of the year, they plan to have, with the help of us all, knocked on 500,000 doors and made 200,00 phone calls. We also heard from Texas State Senator Dawn Buckingham, who will chair Texas Victory 2018.
The decision on who may have booths at a Convention is entirely up to the SREC. Years ago, it was a decision by the Chairman alone, but now we have a process of appeal that includes the Officials Committee, and if denied by that body, then they may appeal to the full SREC. With this meeting being so close the Convention this process took place this weekend. The Log Cabin Republican organization was turned down for a booth and appealed the matter to the full SREC. This booth application was a difficult discussion, but was, I thought, handled in a very fair way. In the end the booth was not allowed for this summer’s convention.
We passed three Resolutions. One was in support of the Electoral College Process for electing our President. The next one was in support of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The third one was sort of fun: Resolution Calling on Democrat Texas Senator Carlos Uresti to resign. If you’ve missed this in the news, he has been convicted of 11 Felony Counts, but is not required to resign until he has exhausted the appeals process. We actually join the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus in this demand.
We also passed some Rule Changes. We cleaned up some language on how to help in non-partisan races. We also changed how someone running for County Republican Chairman, if the county has at least eight Precinct Chairs, needs to get a minimum number of Precinct Chairs to sign a nominating petition for that candidate to be on the ballot. It seems this became necessary after Democrats were putting their names on Republican Primary ballots—running for our County Chair positions– in some counties. Finally, under new business, we passed a Bylaw change, to be able to change our SREC Bylaws with a majority vote. This has been a sore spot for our body the last two years. It is my hope that the Rules Committee at the Convention will settle this once and for all so the next SREC doesn’t have to deal with this again. If you want the whole debate rehashed, just look back at this blog for the past two years.
The Voter Integrity Committee is up and running. They are the folks that make sure that our elections are fair and honest around the state and field questions by phone and email prior to and on election day. They alert to voter fraud and follow through as quickly as possible when something is brought to the attention of the Republican Party. We will hear more about this as we get close to the General Election in November.
The SREC Advancement Committee is compiling a list of available speakers for GOP Clubs. Contact the Republican Party of Texas if you have a need for a speaker.
The Candidate Resource Committee is comprised of both SREC and non-SREC members from around the state. They collect money to help down-ballot candidates win. As State Republican Executive Committee Members, we have a gentleman’s agreement to raise or give $1000 a year to this fund. On Saturday I was surprised and pleased to be awarded my “Bronze Member” banner for my personal giving to this worthy cause. In fact, I have given a total of $8000 ($1000 a year for all of my eight years of SREC Service) in addition to raising much more from our generous donors here in Senate District 8. Please join me in giving to The Candidate Resource Committee to help worthy candidates around the state. Every little bit helps!
I have loved serving the Republicans of Senate District 8. You have been amazing, helpful, supportive, generous, and engaged. While we all have a variety of opinions and visions, we are united in wanting a successful Republican Party and it has been my great honor to be your State Republican Executive Committeewoman. I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store for me as I start my next chapter of service to you.