On Thursday evening the Cherokee County Republican Party voted to officially censure State Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) for failing to uphold the core principles of the Texas GOP.
Initially brought forward a number of weeks ago, the resolution was tabled in order to ensure the entire Executive Committee was up to date on all the information available. After their review, the censure resolution was brought up at the next meeting and sailed through with more than two-thirds of precinct chairs voting in favor of the censure.
Clardy, a Straus lieutenant who is now considering running to succeed him as Speaker, has often been at odds with conservatives in his district. Over the past few sessions, Clardy has often partnered with Democrats in order to thwart conservative efforts to cut taxes, limit government, and even secure the border.
In the Cherokee County censure resolution, authors highlight votes Clardy has taken opposing religious liberty and pro-life legislation as instances of his abandonment of the Texas GOP’s core principles.
The first votes referenced include Clardy’s opposition to conservative amendments to Senate Bills 302 and SB 303 which defended the religious liberty of lawyers, amendments which attempted to ensure no lawyer would be hindered or rejected by the bar because of his or her sincerely held religious beliefs.
Also included in the censure is Clardy’s vote in opposition to a pro-life amendment to Senate Bill 8 offered by State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), which, if passed, would have closed a loophole in Texas’ law that leaves unborn Texans who may have a fetal abnormality unprotected from abortion for the entirety of their time in the womb.
According to Rule 44 of the party’s bylaws, an elected official may be censured if he is found to have violated the core principles of the party on three or more occasions.
The CCRP originally planned to censure Clardy at their last meeting, despite threats of a lawsuit made by the lawmaker. However, the resolution was postponed until November 30 out of respect for Clardy and to allow the committee to gather more information after a contentious meeting.
Cherokee County Chair Tammy Blair said this time was different.
“The Cherokee CEC was able to get back to normal,” she said. “No fanfare. No outrageous threats or attention. When that happened, they simply did their job.”
“They censured one of the most liberal Republicans and held the line on our Platform,” Blair continued. “With courage and tenacity, they said ‘enough is enough’.”
According to party rules, it will now be sent to the state party with a request that Clardy be penalized. If passed by the state Republican Executive Committee, county parties in Clardy’s district could then withhold funding and support from him, and/or openly back and endorse a primary challenger.