At an event promoting his re-election campaign, the chairman of the Texas Republican Party gave a muddled response to conservative grassroots leaders who are calling for a special legislative session.

On Wednesday afternoon, leaders of various grassroots organizations gave a press conference in Dallas, articulating their vision to energize the Republican base and wash away the stench of the scandal involving House Speaker Dennis Bonnen in time for the 2020 elections. Their plan involves Gov. Greg Abbott calling a special session to pass the Lone Star Agenda, a list of monumental conservative reforms unveiled in August that were left untouched during the 2019 Texas Legislature.

Close to 300 Texas organizations, SREC members, and other leaders voiced their support for the agenda in a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott in September, expressing their dissatisfaction with state lawmakers’ “purple session.”

But James Dickey, chairman of the Texas Republican Party, was less than forthright in calling for action.

Hours after Wednesday’s press conference, at an event hosted by the Keller Republican Club, Dickey presented the party’s accomplishments and plans for 2020 but stumbled when asked for a response to the conference.

“I’m entirely unaware of the press conference,” he answered.

Dickey then went on to give a muddled explanation, declining to outright join the grassroots in calling for a special session.

“I’m not sure why part of the platform is better than another part of the platform,” he said in reference to the Lone Star Agenda. “I’m very sensitive given [the fact that] I’m committed to support all the [Texas Republican Party] platform. But if it’s all out of the platform, I’ll advocate for it just as I did during session.”

Dickey then took issue with a question regarding how he, as chairman, can hold elected Republicans accountable in light of “no stronger pro-life laws,” among other disappointments from the purple session.

“We actually do have better life protection,” he countered. “Absolutely. We have already seen lives saved in Texas.”

Dickey’s statement stands in stark contrast to that of Texas Right to Life, one of the most prominent pro-life organizations in the state, which stated at the end of the 2019 session that “no bills that stop abortion passed.” This failure is one that the Lone Star Agenda—to which Texas Right to Life is a signatory—aims to address.

As far as how he could hold elected Republicans accountable, Dickey demurred and pointed back towards Republican voters, encouraging more involvement in the state party. “That depends on what you guys put in the platform and our rules.”

“I did fight for a law change this last session,” he added, “that would have made it crystal clear that our party’s rules are more relevant to how we operate our party as a private association [rather] than the state law.”

Dickey is currently being challenged for re-election by former Florida Republican Congressman Allen West. Delegates to the Texas Republican Party will decide next May who will be party chairman going into the 2020 elections.

West will be hosted by the same organizations next Wednesday at 7 p.m. at The Keller Pointe.

The full video of Dickey’s presentation and the Q-and-A session can be found below.

Texas GOP Chairman, James Dickey, addresses a great crowd!

Posted by Keller Republican Club on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.