Since our last update, the staff and I have spent less time on fundraising and more time on the organizational issues. Justin Hollis, our new Outreach Director, finished his first week of work, which was a productive one. He has already visited with a number of leaders in the Hispanic community and is compiling lists of not only Hispanic organizations but lists of other minority groups and Tea Party type groups. We have our Trailblazer program up and running. This is an effort to reach out to those that are on our email and other lists to get them to sign up and volunteer for campaigns. Josh Perry, our Field Director, and Bryan Preston, our Communications Director, have spearheaded this effort, which has yielded approximately 1750 volunteers. Josh has already broken down the volunteers by House district and Congressional District, and is in the process of breaking them down by Senatorial district as well. This will allow him to contact individual candidates and provide them with a list of volunteers in their area. We also hope to organize Strike Forces from this list. Strike Forces will be groups of volunteers that travel from areas in which there is not a competitive race to districts with highly contested races. We are also working on plans to attempt to organize this group of volunteers along with Victory volunteers for block walking in the fall. Austen Bailey, our Youth Director, along with Josh Perry, our Field Director, recently went to the Young Republicans convention as part of our renewed effort for youth outreach. Austen has been compiling lists of clubs and student leaders in order to determine how the RPT may help foster the growth of College Republican and Young Republican clubs. I’ve also asked Austen to target large campuses on which we currently do not have Young Republican clubs so that we can make an effort to start new college Republican clubs. Austen also is well into the planning stages for our new college newspaper. We are tentatively shooting for mid to late September for launch.

Meanwhile, Travis Griffin has been assisting me in targeting key races for us to direct volunteers to. I also gave him permission to use party resources to protest Obama’s visit to Texas on Monday, August 9. Travis, with help from the rest of the staff, staged a very successful rally. Hundreds and hundreds of Republicans showed up to listen to Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson; Dr. Donna Campbell, our nominee in Congressional District 25; conservative radio and TV personality Lisa Fritsch; Texas Railroad Commission nominee David Porter; Lewisville City Councilman Lathan Watts; Director of Young Americans for Prosperity Chris Covo; and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz.

I also had a chance to attend a Republican rally for state Rep. candidate George Lavender and Rep. Ralph Hall in Texarkana. I gave a speech and had a chance to visit with the enthusiastic crowd of local Republicans. Last week, I spent almost the entire week at the RNC meeting in Kansas City. Bill Crocker, Borah Van Dormolen and myself all opposed a new Republican Party rule which in our view institutionalized the states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina coming before all other states to select their delegates. Bill Crocker gave an eloquent and well-reasoned presentation on behalf of the Texas delegation and for those opposed to the rule change. Unfortunately, we fell just 7 votes short in our efforts to defeat the measure. I also voted against the budget, as it allowed for tapping into a $10 million line of credit, and I oppose the Republican Party engaging in deficit spending.

On the financial front, we have now raised in pledges between $502,200 and $514,700 (some people pledged in a range) of which we have collected $258,775. We also were able to confirm the dates for Sen. Hutchison’s fundraisers for the party. Currently, we have a fundraiser in Houston August 24 at the home of Ned Holmes, which is chaired by County Judge Ed Emmett and co-chaired by Robert Mosbacher Jr; sponsored by Paul Bettencourt, Sen. Dan Patrick, Sen. Tommy Williams, Sen. Mike Jackson and Sen. Joan Huffman, with a host committee of Bill McMinn, John Nau, Bob Perry, and Robert Miller. On September 8, Sen. Hutchison will be hosting a fundraiser in Dallas and on September 9 she’ll be hosting a fundraiser in Ft Worth. Further details will be announced shortly. Gov. Perry committed to doing a fundraising breakfast for us, which will probably occur in September, and a fundraising dinner for us in November. Former Midland Mayor and RNC member Ernest Angelo has now committed to doing a fundraiser for us in Midland this fall. Likewise, Sen. Duell has also committed to organizing a fundraiser for the RPT in the DFW area. Speaker Straus and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst have committed to doing a joint fundraiser for the RPT, which most likely will be held in late September or October in Austin. We continue to make progress on the financial front. As of August 11, the total amount of debt is approximately $430,000. This is down from about $500,000 just two and a half weeks ago and down from approximately $700,000 on June 17th.

Overall, the party is functioning relatively smoothly and although we still have challenges both organizationally and financially ahead of us, we are developing plans to meet these challenges and I am optimistic that we will do so.

Steve Munisteri, Chairman, Republican Party of Texas