Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi turned what could have been a sleepy summertime meeting into a rousing Republican Party rally of sorts as he headlined the Rockwall County Young Republicans’ June gathering on Thursday night.

Rinaldi fired up the crowd, who filled a popular local barbecue restaurant to hear the state party leader talk about how GOP priorities fared during the regular Texas legislative session and what the future holds.

Rockwall Republicans were already incensed over a recent attack by their own state representative, where he referred to GOP grassroots volunteers as “irrelevant.”

“The Republican Party of Texas is a grassroots party,” Rinaldi said. “You’re the party. You’re the reason we are successful. You deserve to be heard, you deserve to be appreciated, and you deserve to be thanked.”

Rinaldi’s remarks directly countered comments tweeted earlier this month by State Rep. Justin Holland (R–Heath).

Holland is in his fourth term representing House District 33, which includes all of Rockwall County and a small portion of southern Collin County.

“It isn’t even coming from Justin,” Rinaldi said. “He hasn’t had an original thought in his life.”

Rinaldi said Holland’s comments reflect the views of House Speaker Dade Phelan, who some representatives feel more allegiance to than their own voters. He said there was no other purpose for social media posts like Holland’s than to show the grassroots that they don’t matter to establishment politicians.

Rockwall County Young Republicans called Holland’s insults “out of touch and disrespectful.”

“Local parties all across Texas, including our county party here in Rockwall, are the backbone of the Republican Party,” the group’s leader, Matt Dorsey, said. “We are honored to stand with and support the Republican Party of Texas, SREC, Rockwall County GOP, and specifically, Chairman Matt Rinaldi.”

Holland wasn’t at Thursday’s event, but his primary opponent, Dennis London, was there speaking with potential voters.

So was Rockwall County GOP Chair Sharon Henson, who issued a statement rejecting Holland’s tweet as “a disrespectful insult to his own Republican Party of Rockwall County, and to every Republican volunteer and voter in Rockwall County and Collin County/House District 33.”

Henson said hundreds of Rockwall County GOP grassroots give thousands of hours to support candidates.

It seems that the Politicians have decided that THEY are the Party and that they know better than regular citizens, so don’t be surprised at what this election cycle brings. If that’s what citizens want, they will make their choice known at the ballot box. In the meantime, we will continue our work to strengthen the Party and win elections.

State of the Party

“Republicans win elections,” Rinaldi said Thursday. “We need those elections to mean something.”

Rinaldi said that in 2022, the Republican Party “made Texas more red for the first time since 2014, but none of this matters unless we use the power we earned.”

What’s missing, he said, is enough elected Republicans willing and able to fight the left.

Rinaldi said he was “very satisfied” with what the Senate did during the regular legislative session. The problem was that a “small group around House leadership” failed to act on many GOP priorities while passing Democrat-sponsored measures.

“We don’t expect to get everything we want,” he said. “We expect substantial success.”

Rinaldi noted Republicans “had a great session for protecting children” as well as “fighting wokeism,” improving election integrity, and reining in rogue district attorneys.

“You can tell how good these bills are by how mad Democrats are at them,” he said.

He then recounted a long list of GOP-priority bills that passed the Senate but died in the Republican-controlled House.

“Who’s the problem here?” he asked.

What’s Ahead

Rinaldi said the days of only worrying about property taxes are long gone.

“We’re in a fight to save America, and that fight is going to be fought here in Texas,” he said.

“We are united as Republicans to fight the left,” Rinaldi concluded, adding that local GOP grassroots activists are key to winning the fight.

You matter,” he said. “We are capable of great things if we work together. You are important to this, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.