After swirling speculation he would be resigning his position as head of the Republican Party of Texas, Chairman Tom Mechler announced that he would be stepping aside in order to focus on his business and his family.
“Friends, this job is hard,” said Mechler in a statement Saturday. “The time commitment, financial commitment, stress, and overwhelming responsibility takes its toll. After a lot of prayer and reflection, I’ve decided it is time for me to focus on my family. A few minutes ago, I submitted my resignation, effective immediately, to our RPT secretary.”
Mechler’s resignation creates an immediate vacancy that the State Republican Executive Committee will need to fill at its upcoming meeting in two weeks. So far, three individuals have surfaced as potential candidates in what is likely to be a heated race: James Dickey, Mark Ramsey, and Rick Figueroa.
All three are relatively known commodities in Republican circles. Dickey is the current chairman of the Travis County GOP, Ramsey is a member of the SREC and currently serves as chief of staff for State Rep. Valoree Swanson (R–Spring), and Figueroa unsuccessfully ran against National Committeeman Robin Armstrong at the party’s last convention.
According to some party insiders, Figueroa is Mechler’s preferred successor and his resignation at this time is intended to install him now and allow him to run for re-election at the next convention from a position of strength.
Figueroa has a mixed record of Republican activism. For years, Figueroa has been pushing for Republicans to embrace liberal immigration policy and amnesty for illegal immigrants and criticized Donald Trump over his opposition to illegal immigration.
He also serves as an ambassador for the Greater Houston Partnership, a Houston chamber of commerce organization that is one of the leading opponents of legislation to prohibit biological men from entering women’s restrooms, showers, and locker rooms.
Meanwhile, both Dickey and Ramsey are known conservatives with strong records of Republican activism. Just this session, Dickey has testified on a number of the RPT’s legislative priorities in the Texas Legislature and been engaged in grassroots events across the state. Since January, Ramsey has been one of the conservative movement’s biggest allies inside the building and has an extensive record of conservative activism in Harris County.
Texas Scorecard will be submitting a questionnaire to all candidates and publishing their responses. The SREC is expected to vote on the matter at their next meeting (June 2nd and 3rd).