We reached two milestones in September. The first was the start of the voting process. While most people think of the election as occurring on November 4th, we at the RPT look at voting as a process as opposed to a single day event. September 5th marked the first day on which voters over 65, voters in the military, or those who would be unable to vote in person could apply for early vote by mail ballots. By September 20th, ballots were sent out to all that asked for them a week or more earlier.

The number of people that vote early by mail has increased over time. This, combined with the high number of senior voters means we are already right in the midst of voting. The RPT, in cooperation with local county parties, has identified approximately 1.2 million solid Republican senior voters that we then mailed and followed up with to make sure they have asked for their mail-in ballots. Between now and election day we will continue our efforts to reach out to these voters to encourage them to send in their ballots.

By contrast, according to press reports, the Democrats were only able to identify a paltry 600,000 seniors who they believe lean Democrat. Thus, we expect our party to have a 2 to 1 advantage coming out of the early vote by mail. This is a pattern we have seen over the past couple elections where seniors voted roughly 66% for the Republican ticket and 33% for the Democratic ticket. In addition, seniors often vote in much higher percentages than other age groups, and we are seeing an increasing number of seniors participate in the voting process every year. All this gives the RPT a decided advantage over the Democrats when it comes to early vote by mail.

We were also able to reach out to over 150,000 households, which totals close to 250,000 people, who recently moved into their current county and have a long established history of voting Republican. We mailed all of them a welcome note, and we are following up through phone calls, post cards, and in some cases personal contact, to ensure they vote here in Texas. Our data indicates that more Republicans are moving into the state from other states than Democrats by about a 1.5:1 ratio. As a result, the increase in population due to interstate migration is making the state more Republican. In addition to our early vote by mail and movers programs, our block walkers and phone bankers have been working hard every day. We had Super Saturday block walks on September 6th and 27th and a Super Saturday phone bank on the 13th.

In less than three weeks, early voting will open up for everybody so we are also beginning to shift our focus to turning out Republicans to vote early. We expect approximately half of the voters will vote before election day, which reinforces why we view the election as a process rather than a single day. Our teams have made hundreds of thousands of personal contacts with voters so far, and we expect that by election day we will have made millions and millions of contacts through phones, mail, and block walks.

The second milestone reached in September was the first full quarterly meeting of the new State Republican Executive Committee. Please click here for the full report on that meeting. We had almost a 50% turnover in the SREC this year with 29 new members, including our new Vice Chair, Amy Clark. Amy is the first Vice Chair to have been elected unanimously on her first try. She had previously served on the SREC from 2010-2012 but did not serve in the last SREC from 2012-2014. All of the other 28 new SREC members have never served on the committee before. I’ve been very fortunate to have two wonderful and cooperative SRECs during my tenure as there have been many SREC members that helped calm troubled waters and ease the divisions within the party after a hotly contested race for Chairman in 2010, for which I am grateful. I didn’t know prior to this SREC meeting exactly what to expect from a new SREC. But after this first meeting, I can tell you that the incoming SREC has a wonderful spirit, positive attitude, and I am very hopeful they will continue in the spirit of unity that the previous two committees displayed.

In addition to the election work and the SREC meeting, I also continued my road travels throughout the month which have accelerated now that we are close to the elections. During the first week of September, I attended a campaign function for State Representative Paul Workman in Lakeway. I ended the week by flying to California to meet with conservative leaders from around the country at the Reagan Ranch and to receive an update on what the Young Americans Foundation has been up to. The Young Americans Foundation owns the Reagan Ranch and provides educational opportunities for young conservatives.

I returned the following Monday and drove to Pflugerville where I spoke at the monthly meeting of the local Republican club. Two days later I had a packed day which started off in Austin debating Democratic Party Chairman, Gilberto Hinojosa, in a Texas Tribune “TribLive” event. I then drove to Dallas for a meeting with several potential contributors. From there I went to meetings with donors, after which I attended a fundraiser for the Texas GOP Victory Committee and the Dallas County Victory Committee. Dallas County Chair, Wade Emmert, assembled an impressive number of contributors and raised a significant amount of money for both the state and local party Victory efforts. Strong Republican supporter Brint Ryan graciously opened his home in Dallas for our use and Texas Victory Chair, Christi Craddick, spoke to the group about our Victory efforts. Chairman Emmert briefed the crowd on what’s occurring in the Dallas area, and I spoke about the Texas GOP’s efforts. From there I drove back to Austin which made for a very long day.

Upon my return to Austin, RPT Executive Director Beth Cubriel and I had a teleconference with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and his Chief of Staff about our joint efforts beyond the 2014 elections and how to best prepare for 2016. We hope to have specific plans to announce to the public after the November elections. The following two days consisted of SREC meetings which I spoke about earlier. The following week started off with a strategy session on how best to support candidates in competitive races and to determine which candidates we should focus on. The following day I was off to Dallas to support two fundraisers hosted by Representative Tan Parker for Lt. Governor Kleefisch of Wisconsin. Governor Kleefisch is raising funds not only for herself but also for Governor Scott Walker as her running mate on the ticket. I was happy to help, especially since Governor Kleefisch was kind enough to keynote our State Convention Gala when we had nobody else lined up. For anybody who would like to donate to that ticket, do so by contacting them here.

The next day I was back to work in Austin as we had candidate meetings with Dr. VanDeWalle and other candidates from Travis County to discuss the ways the party can help with the election. This was followed by yet another fundraiser hosted by Commissioner Craddick with the Texas Victory Committee in Austin with featured guests Dan Patrick, our nominee for Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker of the Texas House, Joe Straus. Please see the full report here. The next day I was on the road again to Walker County to speak at the biannual GOP auction and dinner. From there I was on to Houston where I had two events that weekend. The first event was to speak at the Black Conservative Leaders Conference.Click here to read a recap on that event.

That was followed by the grand opening of the Harris County Republican headquarters. Chairman Paul Simpson, who took office in June, has really hit the ground running and had a packed turnout for the grand opening. I also noticed he already has phones set up and volunteers in the office calling on a daily basis. His staff has worked closely with my staff in the transition from the previous chairman to him and working together has made the transition seamless and smooth. Chairman Simpson has also opened eight offices regionally which is very impressive. As important, if not more important, he has been able to raise a significant amount of money that will allow Harris County to have a robust Victory effort of their own. Last cycle the state party had to spend approximately a quarter of a million dollars in last minute money to hold onto our incumbents in Harris County. However, with Paul’s fundraising prowess it doesn’t look like the state party will be required to use last minute funds in Harris County this cycle thereby freeing up funds for other candidates who may be in dire need of assistance.

The following week also began at the Harris County headquarters where Chairman Simpson held a press conference to announce the Harris County get-out-the-vote program. I returned to Austin that afternoon for a meeting with 11 reporters from around the world regarding the RPT’s political stance and the Democrat’s prospects to turn the state blue (I told them the prospects were dim). The following day Chairman Priebus held a teleconference with all RNC members to provide us with an update. He reported we still have an excellent chance to take the Senate; however, there are numerous races that are too close to call so it will take our maximum effort to do so. The RNC plans to be actively involved in boosting turnout in all states with close races.

The following day I visited my alma mater, the University of Texas, where I spoke to the UT chapter of theYoung Conservatives of Texas. As founding Chairman of the Young Conservatives of Texas in 1980, I am happy to see the group is still active and vibrant. During the last weekend of September, I traveled to Denton County to be the luncheon speaker for the Denton County Republican Party. Chairwoman Dianne Edmondson put together a conference for activists on a variety of topics. The emcee was our former RNC member and former General Counsel to the RNC, Bill Crocker, who did a wonderful job. The following day I traveled to Castroville to keynote the Medina County annual dinner. I ended the month fittingly attending the opening of the local GOP Victory center in Bellville.

On the financial front, we ended the month with over $1.3 million cash on hand in our accounts and with $0 in debt. The cash balance declined several hundred thousand dollars from my last report. Most of that money was spent on our early vote by mail, movers, and Victory programs. We expect to spend several hundred thousand more dollars in the upcoming month of October which will further reduce our balances. However I am hopeful that some of these expenditures will be offset by the continued efforts of our Victory Chair, Christi Craddick, to raise funds. She has two more fundraisers scheduled in October in Houston and Midland that I am optimistic about. I am cautiously hopeful that the Commissioner will be able to raise enough funds to pay for our get-out-the-vote efforts, assist some of our candidates in competitive races, and still leave a substantial balance in the Victory fund to help fund the Victory program into 2015. I am very thankful Commissioner Craddick has been our Victory Chair this year as she has been hardworking and wonderful to work with. She truly has the best interests of the party at heart and most importantly is as concerned about preparing for the future as she is about the current election.

We are a very short time away from early voting which will mark the final sprint to the finish line. Although all signs indicate that we can look forward to another Republican year in Texas, we cannot simply sit back and wait for it to happen. All of us must give our 100% effort by volunteering to knock on doors, call from our phone banks, and talk to our neighbors on behalf of the Republican ticket. We have an opportunity to deal the Democratic ticket and their efforts to turn the state blue a devastating blow in a few short weeks. Whether we do so our not will be solely up to you and other Republican activists across the state. Let’s seize the moment together. I thank you in advance for all the hard work you are going to do over the next month, and I thank you for the privilege to head the party during this critical election cycle.

Stephen Munisteri, Chairman

P.S. Congratulations to Rhonda Lacy and the Midland County Republican Women’s Club for having the largest membership of any Republican Women’s club in the country.