Charlie Riley

Montgomery County Pct. 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley has declared war on conservative precinct chairs who did not support his re-election campaign.

While candidates usually try to unite the community by being gracious and magnanimous during their victory speeches, Riley instead used his victory speech to launch attacks at Republicans who did not support his bid for re-election.

“We got momentum going,” said Riley. “We got folks in certain places, as in precinct chairs, and we don’t need to let this momentum stop. We got some folks that need to be done… We got problems in our precinct chairs.”

Riley also took a shot at the voters for tossing his mentor, County Judge Craig Doyal, out of office:

“Montgomery County don’t realize what they done when they turned him down.”

While he managed to eke out a victory, the close runoff was a harrowing near-death experience for Riley’s political career. In the March 6 primary, Riley emerged with only 43.51 percent of the vote, with conservative challenger Greg Parker right at his heels with 42.93 percent. By massively outspending Parker and waging a nasty smear campaign, he managed to prevail in the runoff, 55.93 to 44.07 percent.

During the runoff, half the precinct chairs within Riley’s commissioner precinct issued a letter supporting Parker and condemning the incumbent for his ethics violations and refusal to support the Republican Party platform. When the results came in, Riley lost 11 out of the 22 voting precincts within Precinct 2.

Surviving the contest severely battered, with his credibility diminished, and with half the precinct against him, Riley decided to come out swinging. Many precinct chairs have been a thorn in Riley’s side by holding him accountable to his campaign promises and the Republican platform, so Riley wants them gone.

According to his remarks on election night, Riley is working with his ally, Precinct 29 Chair Linda Stuckey, to create a hit list of precinct chairs who do not support him and recruit challengers to run against them in the next primary.

Riley’s attacks on GOP officers puts the Montgomery County Republican Party in an interesting situation. While many on the executive committee would like to include Riley, as the Republican nominee, in the party’s get-out-the-vote strategy for the general election, they cannot in good conscience campaign for him while he is trying to take them out.

Rule 44, the formal censure which allows the party to withhold support from an elected official, is currently being considered. Riley has violated the core principles of the Republican Party platform many times, and when the newly elected chairs are sworn in on June 19, the tea party faction will have the votes to invoke Rule 44 should they deem it the best option.

In the meantime, most of the chairs whom Riley is targeting are not too worried. Riley lost the eastern half of Precinct 2, with some voting boxes in The Woodlands giving Parker over 85 percent of the vote. Riley’s victory was mostly driven by unusually high turnout in three voting boxes in his hometown of Magnolia: 13, 18, and 29. Without those three boxes, Parker would have won the precinct overall.

“This is not ‘momentum’ for Charlie,” said one precinct chair. “This was the good ole boys turning out their people in a few precincts to save bubba.”

Reagan Reed

Reagan Reed is the East Texas Correspondent for Texas Scorecard. A homeschool graduate, he is nearing completion of his Bachelor’s Degree in History from Thomas Edison State College. He is a Patriot Academy Alumni, and is an Empower Texans Conservative Leader Award recipient.