|Sent on:||Sunday, February 26, 2012 10:42 AM|
RPT Convention Update
SREC and County Chairs Swing Into Action
Last Wednesday's redistricting hearing in San Antonio made it
clear that there would not be a Texas Primary in time for precinct
conventions to be held at the same time as the primary election.
Therefore, this made it an impossibility that the Republican and
Democratic Parties could proceed under the provisions of the Texas
Election Code relative to hosting state conventions. Upon returning
to Austin from the trial that afternoon, the RPT swung into action
to propose a remedy to the Court as the Court had instructed us to
[2012-02-officials.jpg] Immediately following the Wednesday
hearing, Chairman Steve Munisteri met with RPT staff to discuss all
possible options regarding the convention process, in order to
present alternatives to the State Republican Executive Committee
(SREC). Working with the staff, the Chairman was able to determine
relatively quickly that there were only a few viable alternatives.
The next day on Thursday, the Chairman commenced a meeting of the
RPT Officials' Committee, comprised of seven members elected from
the SREC (Russ Duerstine, Josh Flynn, Rex Lamb, Jean McIver, Jason
Moore, Hal Talton & Rebecca Williamson), the National Committeeman
Bill Crocker and National Committeewoman Borah Van Dormolen, the
General Counsel Patrick O'Daniel and Assistant General Counsel Eric
Opiela, the Treasurer Tom Mechler and Assistant Treasurer Tom
Washington, the Secretary Mandy Tschoepe, the Parliamentarian Butch
Davis and Vice-Chairwoman Melinda Fredricks. The Chairman met with
them by teleconference and went over the recommendations from the
staff. In general terms, the recommended process allows for
delegates to be picked directly at either a county or senatorial
district convention without the necessity of precinct conventions.
However, under this option, the functions of the precinct
conventions are preserved - that being to allow maximum grassroots
participation, presentation of resolutions, and a fair allocation
Once the outline of a consensus plan was reached, the Chairman
scheduled a statewide teleconference with the entire SREC on
Friday, February 17th. The Chairman set up two calls at different
times of the day so that all SREC could participate and allowed
every SREC member as much time as they wished to speak. The end
result was that the plan developed from the Officials' Committee
was modified further so as to allow each individual county the
option of attempting to hold precinct conventions if they determine
it is feasible and logistically possible. It was then decided that
the attorneys would be given the task of drafting proposed rules
changes and they did so over the next several days. In addition to
counsel for the party drafting the rules, input was obtained from
Rules Committee Chairman Dan Pickens and Rules Committee member
Clint Moore (who had drafted the revised national delegate
selection process in the past), along with input from National
Committeeman and RNC General Counsel Bill Crocker.
These rules were then distributed to every County Chairman via
email on Tuesday evening, February 21st. Two separate statewide
conference calls were setup on Wednesday, February 22nd, in order
to obtain input from the county chairmen on the process. Based on
these conference calls, along with feedback from other interested
party leaders around the state, the proposed rules were tweaked
further. An emergency SREC meeting has been set for next Wednesday,
February 29th in Austin, to approve the proposed rules. We expect
to have a draft of the proposed rules completed by early next week,
and the Party will post them online via TexasGOP.org.
We have received a number of questions from around the state which
we would like to address in this email.
Q: Why can't we simply have precinct conventions as normal?
A: The Republican Party of Texas has approximately 5500 precincts
where we have precinct chairmen, and thousands more where we don't.
Normally, precinct conventions are held where the primary is
conducted, thereby affording the opportunity for a meeting space
that doesn't cost the county parties any additional funds.
Moreover, voters can easily identify where the location is, and if
there is no precinct chairman - Republicans can still show up at
the conclusion of voting and obtain a precinct convention packet
from the election judge and conduct the precinct convention.
Without a primary, it will not be practical for many counties to be
able to locate sites for all their precinct conventions, and/or to
bear the expense - a task made even more difficult in precincts
without chairmen. Therefore, under the rules, counties would be
given the option of either attempting to conduct precinct
conventions, or if they can't, to proceed directly to county or
senatorial conventions (as the case may be).
Q: Will the elimination of precinct conventions reduce grassroots
A: Under the proposed rules, we believe that there is a chance to
actually increase grassroots involvement. This is because every
registered voter who takes an oath of affiliation to the Republican
Party will be allowed to attend their district conventions.
Arguably, this allows more grassroots participation because under
the existing system which starts with precinct conventions, a
certain percentage of precinct convention attendees are not
eligible to participate in a county / district convention. Under
the proposed rules, everyone would be able to participate.
Q: Will people be able to propose resolutions as they normally do
at a precinct convention?
A: Everyone will be able to have the same opportunity to propose
any resolution at the district convention, that they normally would
at a precinct convention.
Q: Why can't RPT simply move the State Convention?
A: There are many reasons. First, if we move the State Convention -
to what date would we move it? As it is, there is no guarantee
Texas would have a primary in time to allow precinct conventions on
any date that we pick for the State Convention. The reason for this
is that we have to have our State Convention in time to submit our
delegate lists to the National Convention, 35 days before the
National Convention starts. This means that we would have to
conclude a State Convention no later than July 23. If, for example,
Texas has a June 26th primary, there would not be enough time to
follow the Election Code (which prescribes for precinct conventions
and district conventions three weeks later) and then have enough
time to process all the delegates. Consequently, under some
scenarios, even moving the State Convention could not preserve the
existing process. Second, where would the State Convention be held
if moved? There are only four convention sites in Texas that can
accommodate the number of participants that we expect at this
year's event. Moreover, it is necessary to block out thousands of
hotel rooms in order to accommodate the vast majority of delegates
and alternates who come in from out of town. These facilities and
hotels have to be reserved and contracted for well in advance of
the convention. For example, this year's convention site in Fort
Worth was decided upon 6 years ago, and we signed hotel contracts
last year. Finally, there would be significant financial penalties
to both parties if the conventions are moved. With all these
considerations in mind, both political parties testified to the
Court that it is simply not feasible to move State Conventions.
We hope that this email has provided you with not only a status
report on where we are relative to the convention process, but also
answers some questions about why the RPT is proceeding in the way
that we are. If any of you have any additional questions, please
feel free to email them to us via the TexasGOP.org website, and
we'll get back to you as best as we can.
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