I normally try to publish a Chairman's Update a few days after the month has concluded, so please excuse my tardiness on this update as my last two weeks have been consumed with dealing with redistricting and primary issues. There was a big sense of relief in our offices on Friday when the federal panel in San Antonio signed the agreement that allows us to move forward on holding an April 3, 2012 primary election. This not only preserves the unified primary date for all races on the ballot, but it allows us a timetable that preserves the State Convention in June 2012. There will be more updates on this topic in next month’s Chairman’s Update.
The theme of the last couple of Chairman's Updates was "Miles and Miles of Texas". If I had to pick a theme song for November, it would be "On the Road Again". Although I did not break the 3,000 mile mark as I did the previous two months, I did drive approximately 2,500 more miles across Texas in November to visit our Republican clubs and organizations. All told, during the last three months I've traveled approximately 9,000 miles by car visiting with our party leadership and speaking to the grassroots.
During the first week of November, I traveled to Cy-Fair, and spoke to the Cy-Fair Republican Women's Club. Then it was on to Houston to meet with some potential Republican contributors as well as attending a Free Enterprise Institute breakfast. Past Republican Party State Chairman George Strake was one of the speakers, as well as Houston Texans owner Bob McNair. The Institute, among other things, promotes free enterprise among today's youth. I then drove to Dallas to speak to the Golden Corridor Republican Women's Club, and stayed over in Dallas that night in order to attend a Hispanic Republicans of Texas event the next day featuring Florida Senator Marco Rubio. ART President George Seay emceed the event, at which Senator Rubio gave a rousing speech emphasizing conservative values and Hispanic outreach. I had my first opportunity to visit with Senator Rubio in person and was very impressed by him. He is an incredible speaker, a man of great intelligence and a dynamic personality – it was a real privilege to meet him. That very same day, I drove to Austin to host a reception on behalf of the Republican Party of Texas for our county chairs that were attending county chair training with the Secretary of State the next day. After the reception, I hosted a meeting with some of our youth leadership at RPT headquarters along with our Youth Director, Nick Carona. The following day, prior to going to the county chairs luncheon, I traveled to Williamson County to speak to the Texas Young Republican Federation board. Then it was back to Travis County to speak at the Texas Republican County Chairs Association luncheon being held in conjunction with the Secretary of State training activities that day. Linda Rogers, Chair of TRCCA did a phenomenal job of putting together a very well-attended and useful function.
The following week I traveled to College Station to speak to the Brazos County Republican Club. Brazos GOP Chairman Paul Rieger was there, as well as many of the local GOP leadership. After driving back to Austin that night, I drove out the following day to Meadowlakes, TX to speak to the Burnet County Republican Women's Club. This was a very well-attended event, and in addition to my speech, the group heard from numerous candidates running for office in Burnet County.
The following week was very busy because filing period opened, so I had a chance to visit with numerous Congressional and statewide candidates who stopped by. In between meeting candidates, I spoke at the Lake Travis Republican Women's Club, followed by the next day, driving to Galveston to speak to the Galveston County Republican Women's Club. From Galveston, I traveled to Houston to meet with some additional potential contributors.
Thanksgiving week, I had an opportunity to travel to Hood County to speak in Granbury at a packed house at the invitation of Representative Jim Keffer, as well as the local leadership. I had a chance to visit with several of the local Republican elected officials and it was a great event. It was nice to take off a couple of days at Thanksgiving and then the following week, was spent primarily preparing for the SREC meeting the first weekend of December. Please see our previous SREC report for a full update.
During the month of November, our Convention Committee headed up by Hal Talton, working in conjunction with RPT staff, continued to move forward with contracts for the management and production of the convention. We hope to execute the final contracts in the next week or so. Political Director Travis Griffin and Finance Director Keri Mason submitted revised fundraising and political plans / timelines for our Victory Chairman Ed Emmett, and we hope to finalize all these plans during the month of January. In November, we added additional temporary, full-time staff member Rachel Wilson to help with the inflow of filing applications. Cassie Daniel, who was recently added to help us in the filing of all GOP County Chairs, is very close to finalizing the task of finding county chairs for all 254 counties in the state and we hope to have an exciting announcement in the next few days.
During November, we also tried an experiment to see if there would be interest in our contributors joining us on a statewide teleconference with myself and RPT staff. During which, we would update them on the Party's activities and plans. I was worried we wouldn't have much of a turnout, especially since there was a Presidential debate that night, but I thought it was worth a try to see if we could obtain feedback from our supporters and afford them an opportunity to be fully informed about the Republican Party. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that 6,500 people called in and several hundred of those submitted questions which our RPT staff answered. This was such a success that we anticipate having another one in the near future – stay tuned for an announcement.
Also during this past month, we passed the 1,200 mark of people who have signed up for the Grassroots Club since its inception, which was our goal for the end of 2011. As it has been over a year since our first member has signed up – we'd like to remind people to renew!
The focus of the Party over the next couple of months will be to work through very complicated primary issues that have resulted from the redistricting case, ensure the proper administration of the primary, plan for our June convention, and get the Victory committee up and running. This is more than a full plate – but with everybody's help, we will be successful. I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, and I hope that everybody rests up over the holidays so that we will all be raring to go after the New Year. Hopefully 2012 will bring us a new President and a new Senate Majority Leader!
Chairman, Republican Party of Texas
P.S. I've recently noticed that my counterpart over at the Texas Democratic Party has started his own version of a monthly Chairman's Update to his email list. You know what they say – imitation is the highest form of flattery. I just wish the Texas Democrats would imitate our Party more on balancing the budget and lowering taxes!