Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey announced today he would be seeking re-election at the party’s convention in June.
In an email sent out to his supporters this morning, Dickey highlighted his success in strengthening the party’s infrastructure statewide as well as shaping conservative policy outcomes, pointing to movement of conservative priorities during the special session last year:
Almost immediately after I took office, Governor Abbott called the special session, and we went to work organizing our volunteers, staff, and supporters to work with the Governor’s office and legislators in both chambers to support legislation that you – the Republican voters of Texas – said you wanted. As a direct result of those efforts we were able to see your values turned into reality in key areas, including limitations on annexation without voter approval and implementation of a requirement for approval before a hospital issues a do-not-resuscitate order on a patient’s behalf.
When former Republican Party of Texas Chairman Tom Mechler stepped down last year, grassroots forces lined up behind James Dickey to replace Mechler in a narrow victory decided by the State Republican Executive Committee.
Since taking the reins of the RPT in June, Dickey has placed a renewed focus on the party platform, engaging grassroots organizations, and holding elected officials accountable for failing to live out the party’s principles, and those positive steps helped to excite and energize the party’s base. Around the state party activists have mobilized and advocated for the party in ways not seen for a long time.
Shortly after taking office, Dickey held informational sessions inside the Capitol to reacquaint Republican legislators and staff with the priorities of the party ahead of the special legislative session called by Gov. Greg Abbott.
After many of those priorities were killed at the hands of liberal House Speaker Joe Straus, the Freedom Caucus led a movement to urge the Texas House GOP to amend its bylaws to allow for the election of a Speaker candidate in caucus, in a move to eliminate the situation in which Straus relied on Democrats and a small group of Republicans in order to take the gavel in 2009.
The RPT under Dickey listened to and affirmed this grassroots-driven measure and even allowed for candidates to attach an optional pledge to their filing that they would support a Speaker candidate elected by Republicans.
Shortly after, the Bexar County Republican Party—Straus’ home county—passed a Rule 44 censure resolution condemning him for repeatedly obstructing conservative legislation by subverting and ignoring the rules of the House.
Rather than ignore or otherwise try to stifle these actions behind the scenes or otherwise, Dickey allowed the process to play out all the way to the SREC. When the body required the chair’s vote to decide the fate of the resolution, Dickey cast a yes vote along with the supermajority, affirming grassroots conservatives’ dedication and work to hold Straus accountable, commenting at the time, “The Republican Party of Texas believes in its principles and supports the work of its delegates, voters, precinct chairs, and elected officials in upholding those principles.”
By all measures, Dickey’s short tenure so far as RPT Chairman has united grassroots by exhibiting a return to the conservative principles on which the party is founded.
So far, Dickey faces opposition from one other candidate. Frisco Republican Cindy Asche announced her intention to run for the position last month, a surprising candidate to those who expected a more outspoken critic of Dickey.
Party delegates will have their opportunity to elect the Chairman for the next two years when the convention meets in June in San Antonio.