Texas Republicans got a wake-up call in November 2018, and the state party chair is enlisting activists in at-risk regions to make sure they don’t go back to sleep.
Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey presented his “Red Alert Texas” strategy Monday night to Collin Strong, a relatively new network of grassroots activists in conservative Collin County that is well positioned to help the action plan succeed in the DFW Metroplex.
Red Alert Texas
The good news, Dickey told the receptive crowd, is Republicans won all 14 statewide offices on the November 2018 ballot—the 12th statewide sweep in a row. But the GOP lost two U.S. House seats, one in Dallas County; two state senate seats, in Dallas and Tarrant counties; and all 31 courts of appeals races on ballots throughout the state—by far the most devastating losses, said Dickey.
The 2018 race for U.S. Senate was the “big warning,” he said, as incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz won that statewide contest by only 2.6 points. Cruz actually lost in what has been reliably red Tarrant County.
Republicans also lost 12 Texas House races in 2018, half in the DFW Metroplex. Another nine House Republicans retained their seats with margins of 5 percent or less; seven of those are in DFW-area districts: State Reps. Jonathan Stickland, Matt Shaheen, Morgan Meyer, Bill Zedler, Angie Chen Button, Jeff Leach, and Tony Tinderholt.
A loss of nine seats in 2020 is enough to flip the state House and give control of redistricting to Democrats.
Dickey warned that to win the presidency in 2020, Texas must turn out over a million more Republican voters than in 2016. To save vulnerable state House seats, he said most of those new voters need to come from the DFW area.
RPT staff have been in the field in DFW since January, Dickey said, but grassroots support is key. He encouraged activists to donate to the party and/or conservative candidates; refer excellent people to serve as staff, volunteers, and candidates; register like-minded friends and neighbors to vote; support Republican candidates in local races; and utilize RPT resources. Working together in 2019 will ensure Republicans are prepared for 2020, he added.
“We have a challenge in Texas,” Dickey concluded, “so we better get working.”
Conservative activists in Collin County are already working, thanks in part to Collin Strong, a new kind of grassroots organization launched less than a year ago in one of the most influential counties in Texas to drive the message of conservative values and impact politics at the local and state levels.
“We want to grow the conservative movement in Collin County,” said Collin Strong president Brian Newman.
Newman and fellow board members Darrell Hale, Ellen Skinner, and Darren Meyer are doing just that, pursuing their mission of educating the public, activating a grassroots network, and promoting candidates and causes.
With “an army of activists” estimated at over 1,000, the team collaborates with a number of like-minded clubs in the area. They were heavily involved in the Collin County GOP’s 2018 Victory Committee and are currently hosting an intensive local-candidate training school.
“We have tremendous grassroots force in Collin County,” Newman said.
Newman and his team are a big part of that force. Prior to forming Collin Strong, Newman served as an active member, then leader, of McKinney Tea Party. Skinner is the immediate past president of powerhouse club Golden Corridor Republican Women that serves Collin, Dallas, and Denton counties.
Collin Strong’s activist network and allies will be key to retaining and growing conservative Republican influence in the region and keeping Texas red.
“Our goal is to win elections,” added Meyer. “This team right here can’t be beaten. Together, we win.”