As the Texas GOP begins to ramp up its 2018 election efforts, preparations for what is sure to be a major fundraising campaign are already in the works.
Appointed this year to lead the effort and receive the title of “Victory Chair” is freshman State Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R–Lake Austin), who was touted in a press release by Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Senator Buckingham help grow the Republican Party and improve our candidates’ election results for several years,” said Dickey. “I know first-hand her willingness to put in the time and effort necessary, and we at the Republican Party of Texas look forward to working in close partnership with her to ensure Victory for our candidates and for Texas.”
Buckingham was quoted in the same press release.
I am thrilled to lead the 2018 Victory campaign for the Republican Party of Texas. Texas continues to lead the nation because of the commitment our candidates and officeholders have to conservative values and principles,” said Buckingham. “I look forward to campaigning across Texas with leaders of our party, Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and all Republicans including statewide, legislative, and judicial candidates.”
Buckingham, who won elected office by defeating a Straus committee chair in the Republican primary, has been a reliable vote for conservatives since she joined the Texas Senate this year—earning an 85 on the Fiscal Responsibility Index.
The lawmaker garnered significant attention from conservatives for amendments she offered to protect free speech on university campuses and to empower taxpayers in rural counties to opt-in to property tax protections. While Buckingham successfully moved both items through the Texas Senate, they were killed in the Texas House.
As Victory Chair, Buckingham will be in the spotlight for Republican campaign efforts—a position where her actions will be watched carefully by party activists. Such a spotlight provides an opportunity for Buckingham to shine, like Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick did in 2014, or to raise eyebrows and rankle Republican volunteers like Land Commissioner George P. Bush did in 2016.
Bush faced criticism for not only the party’s underwhelming election performance, but for decisions he made such as using the party’s push card to promote himself and other Republicans not even on the ballot.
Republican activists should keep a close watch on the Texas GOP’s victory efforts throughout the 2018 election cycle and ensure that decisions are made that benefit Republican priorities rather than personalities. If managed correctly, they can ensure that the Lone Star State remains on a productive path.