We were among the 8,000 or so party faithful that attended the Super Bowl of Texas Republican Party politics in Fort Worth last week. The fiery and inspiring speeches of Ted Cruz, the brazen and ham-fisted effort by the party establishment to sell the “Texas Solution”, the strange but lively battle over medical marijuana, party chairman Steve Munisteri’s bold new idea for primaries and awarding delegates in the next Presidential cycle; we had a front row seat to it all. Catch the highlights and see photos on our Facebook page, here:
A. The Republican Party is Growing
This is evidenced in the increasing turnout in local, county elections (of course) but also in the size and strength of the contingents which attend the RPT (Republican Party of Texas) state conventions. Growth is good.
B. The Republican Party is Growing More Conservative
While conservative candidates win some and lose some battles, both locally and state wide, the overall tone and tenor of the state party is growing ever more conservative.
Exhibit A is the manner in which the “Texas Solution” was shot down during the platform debate. The RPT insiders and the lobbyists threw everything they had at this immigration plan but it was soundly rejected. Good, bad or indifferent, it’s hard to argue that this rejection by the grassroots is anything else but the continued penetration of these same folks into the party’s inner operations, and the seasoning and maturation of these same folks through the bruising battles with the establishment.
Exhibit B are the wins by Daniel McCool and Tanya Robertson of the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) man and woman posts. There were many good candidates vying for these posts – our hats off to JT Edwards for putting in a yeoman’s effort for the SREC male post – and some candidates had the endorsements of party insiders, elected officials and party chairs. When the voting was over, the tea-party candidates won by a mile. In the ladies race, it wasn’t even close – Tanya won by over 100 votes out of the 370-ish total available. And in the men’s race both JT and Daniel – neither being establishment favorites – were the top two vote getters in round one…with Daniel ultimately winning in a close runoff.
Exhibit C is the ice cold reception offered to John Cornyn. Cornyn came onstage to an adaptation of Jimmy Dean’s 1961 hit, “Big John”, rewritten to immortalize his alleged bruising battles with the DC establishment. While a commendable effort by the RPT to provide a nice reception for the senior Senator from Texas, it failed to win over the crowd. The once conservative hero to Texas Republicans has a lot of work to do to mend fences with his once stalwart base after the back stabbing he gave Cruz last year. However, given Cornyn’s convincing win in his recent primary, he may not really care.
C. New Rules for Presidential Delegate Allocation Will Shake up the Presidential Cycle
Party Chair Steve Munisteri has concocted a new scheme for the allocation of Texas delegates to Presidential hopefuls. A complex affair, we’re still not fully clear on the complete workings of this proposed new scheme but our best efforts at a synopsis:
Texas sends 155 delegates to the national convention to select a presidential nominee
- 75% of those delegates will be allocated during the March primary in the next, 2016, cycle
- 25% of those delegates will be allocated during the party’s state convention, to occur in May that year
Presidential Straw Poll: Ted Cruz Will Win Texas. Anywhere Else? We Can Only Hope
Cruz ran away with this poll. In a field of 15 candidates, Cruz polled at 43%. That Cruz will run for President is all but certain- the formation of SuperPacs to support Ted are proof to this. But can Ted win in New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and Iowa? And then nationally? We can only hope so.