­­­One Republican state representative is so upset over local activists exposing his poor record in Austin that he’s threatened local party leaders with a lawsuit. The threat was levied in response to the county party’s executive committee’s consideration of a resolution to censure the lawmaker.

Members of the Cherokee County Republican Party executive committee sought to censure State Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) for his failure to support the Republican Party of Texas platform.  In response, Clardy has threatened to file a lawsuit against the County Party Chair and executive committee.

A Censure pursuant to rule 44 in the Republican Party of Texas platform is simply a formal statement of disapproval of any Republican elected official in Texas. Though the process is rarely utilized, it is most often used against Republicans that don’t follow or support the party platform, as with the Cherokee County resolution in question.

A courtesy message was sent by Cherokee County Republican Party Chairwoman Tammy Blair to Clardy about the censure resolution. Clardy immediately responded with a phone call. According to Blair, Clardy boasted during the call, “The Republican Party Platform is meaningless… It is meant to get people elected.”

Contrary to claims that the number of censure resolutions being brought up by the grassroots is fracturing the party, Blair accounts that the lack of conservative leadership in Austin is actually what’s fracturing the party. “The grassroots, the base of the Republican Party, can’t get legislation passed. Legislation that is a priority of the Republican Party, even though there is a majority Republicans in office statewide.” Furthermore, Blair stated, “These are not little issues we are talking about either, these are major party platform issues.”

According to Blair, Clardy threatened her and the Cherokee County Republican Party with a lawsuit if they moved forward with the censure process.

Blair said that it felt as though Clardy didn’t understand how her chairmanship worked, or “any chairmanship for that matter.” Blair stated:

“It is not my job as chairwoman to squash things called upon by the body like the leadership in the Texas House thinks. Representative Clardy is an elected representative of, for, and by, the people and it sounds like he doesn’t want the people to have a say. Quite frankly, it’s offensive.”

That ‘philosophy’ is widespread under the establishment leadership of the Texas House. Clardy knows all too well the common practice of protecting leadership from political backlash. These corrupt tactics have been routine business in the Texas House for decades.

Clardy currently serves on the House Energy Resources and Higher Education committees, and is the vice chair of the powerful Local and Consent Calendars committee.

Clardy has a career F rating on the Fiscal Responsibility Index and earned a 40 in the most recent 85th legislative session. Such a dismal score is alarming for Republicans, considering the highest scoring Democrat earned a 36.

Among the top 10 most liberal representatives in the House, Clardy has a reputation for killing conservative legislation. Therefore, Clardy’s statements about the Republican Party platform come as no surprise to those familiar with his governing record.

Empower Texans general counsel Tony McDonald calls Clardy’s threat “absurd” and says he would have no legal basis for a lawsuit. “These are just bullying tactics from Mr. Clardy,” said McDonald. “As a licensed attorney, he should know better than to claim he would file some absurd lawsuit to challenge the party for simply voicing its dissatisfaction with his record. He knows he would be thrown out of court.”

RPT Chairman James Dickey showed support for Blair, saying, “If a suit is filed against anyone over the Rule 44 censure, counsel will be sent to represent them on behalf of the Party.”

Cherokee County Republicans are no strangers to the Rule 44 censure process. The resolution in regards to Clardy is the third of its kind in the county. The party previously passed two censure resolutions on July 28th, 2017 against Cherokee County Commissioner Byron Underwood and Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus.

Chairwoman Blair states that the executive committee is currently working on a censure resolution against Representative Clardy and that she will not stop the committee from bringing it up when it is ready for a vote.

Zach Maxwell

Zach Maxwell is a contributor to Texas Scorecard and leads the Texas Torchbearers. Raised in Cisco, he has worked in various positions in the legislature and on campaigns.


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