After the previous chairman rendered himself ineligible to hold the office, the incumbent he defeated in the primary will resume duties as chairman of a major county party.
Following Morrow’s self-imposed disqualification from holding the office, former-chairman James Dickey has retaken the reins as head of the Travis County Republican Party.
Robert Morrow, who gained national attention for controversial theories and wildly inappropriate commentary, rendered himself ineligible to hold the office of chairman of the Travis County Republican Party when his application to run as a write-in candidate for President of the United States was accepted.
Section 161.005 of the Election Code lays out the qualifications for being a county or precinct chairman. One of those requirements is that one cannot hold or be a candidate for County, State, or Federal offices.
“The moment that you file, that is tantamount to a letter of resignation,” Executive Vice Chairman David Duncan explained at a press conference last month.
There had been much talk about who would take the position. Although Morrow’s disqualification went into effect in late August, it wasn’t until Tuesday night that his predecessor James Dickey, who Morrow defeated with 56 percent of the vote during the March primary, was voted back into the position. Morrow (who had made clear that Dickey was his preferred choice in the election) congratulated Dickey on winning 62 of the 92 votes amongst precinct chairs on Tuesday. Coming in second, with twenty-six votes, was Brendan Steinhauser, an Austin political consultant.
“It’s nice to have the Republican Party in Travis County back on strong footing and to have the precinct chairs right the mistake that unfortunately some voters made without really being careful, and I hope that’s a lesson that everybody takes from this,” Dickey said Tuesday.
Longtime party loyalists are hoping that his return will allow the party to focus full-bore on fundraising and electing Republicans to office, undistracted by the various alienating controversies that hindered party efforts.
So it was with Dickey’s Tuesday night election came a much needed infusion of cash – totaling $20,000. Officials are optimistic that this will allow the local party to accomplish the things it needs to between now and November – although that remains to be seen.