The Republican National Committee, which is the governing body of the national Republican Party, met in Los Angeles, CA the week of April 8. The RNC is comprised of 168 members plus officers. Each state elects a National Committeeman, National Committeewoman, and the State Chairman from each state is also a voting member. Thus the 50 states make up 150 of the 168 voting members. The other 18 members are from 5 American territories and the District of Columbia. In the past, the RNC had two official business meetings each year, however now the RNC holds 3 a year, the third in conjunction with a meeting of the State Chairmen.
The spring 2013 RNC meetings kicked off Tuesday night with an informal member’s dinner to get acquainted. The dinner was hosted by RNC Secretary Demetra DeMonte from Illinois. The dinner was held at The Grill Restaurant and had no formal program. It was simply an opportunity for RNC members to discuss the upcoming meeting and the issues that would be confronting the body. On Wednesday April 10, various committees met to prepare reports for the body to adopt. These meeting included the Budget Committee, Rules Committee, and Resolutions Committee. The budget committee was asked to propose an amended budget to move $8.3 million from an anticipated year end surplus of $16 million over to field operations. This would ensure that Chairman Reince Priebus’s plan to spend an additional $10 million a year on national field offices and staff is fully funded. ChairmanMunisteri attended the Budget Committee meeting and is in full support of Chairman Preibus’s recommendation to spend addition money out in the field.
Dr. Robin Armstrong attended the Resolutions Committee meeting in order to present a resolution honoring Borah Van Dormolen. There was a several hour meeting that afternoon of the Rules Committee to consider major changes to the RNC rules. Each state is allowed one representative on the Rules Committee and the Texas delegation voted unanimously to have Borah represent the state of Texas on the committee, however, due to her untimely death, Chairman Munisteri was elected to replace her for the spring meeting. Texas National Committeeman Robin Armstrong, National Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell, and Chairman Steve Munisteri caucused prior to the RNC meetings and decided that the state would vote as a block and support the efforts of Virginia National Committeeman Morton Blackwell to reinstate the RNC rules adopted at the August 2010 RNC meeting in place of the rules that were adopted at the 2012 Republican National Convention. The Texas delegation decided to take this stance for several reasons. First, and most importantly, the delegation received hundreds of calls from grassroots Republican activists urging them to support Mr. Blackwell’s efforts. Not one email or call was received to the contrary. Second, the rules would allow individual states to have more control over their convention and caucus processes, including allowing states to continue the practice of holding beauty contests at the same time they choose delegates. Texas strongly supports the concept that individual states should decide how to pick their delegates and run their conventions, rather than have the national party decide this for them. At the Rules Committee meeting, ChairmanMunisteri spoke in favor of adopting National Committeeman Blackwell’s rule change. The vote was close but we lost 31-26. Chairman Munisteri also spoke in favor of a rule change proposed by Minnesota National Committeeman Jeff Johnson to allow states to still have beauty contests despite the rejection of the broader revision proposed by Mr. Blackwell. That rule change passed through the committee, however as will be noted below, was rejected by the entire body on Friday.
On Wednesday evening Chairman Munisteri and National Committeeman Blackwell were asked by California National Committeeman Shawn Steel to meet with California party leaders to discuss ways that the California state party could increase its standing in the state. Over a several hour dinner, Chairman Munisteri and Mr. Blackwell discussed fundraising, organization, state conventions, candidate recruitment, etc. Committeeman Steel is making a major push to help revitalize the California Republican Party so that we may eventually turn California back to a Republican state.
On Thursday there was series of panels on different topics as well as meeting of the state chairmen. Chairman Munisteri attended the State Chairmen’s meeting as well as participated on a panel at which he discussed the outreach efforts in the state of Texas and how the party can expand its base throughout different communities without compromising principles. That night there was a dinner at Fox Studios at which Colonel Allen West was the featured speaker.
Friday was the general session the RNC. During the general session, a new General Counsel was confirmed. The new general counsel is Tennessee Committeeman John Ryder who replaces Texas’ very own Bill Crocker. Bill did an outstanding job as General Counsel but was term limited out of his position so new counsel needed to be installed. The Texas delegation thanks Bill Crocker for the tremendous service he provided to the RNC during his tenure as General Counsel. The committee also approved a Texan as the National Finance Chairman, Ray Washburn, from Dallas. The major order of business was taking up a rule change supported by ChairmanPriebus which clarified and ensured that neither the Republican nominee nor the RNC could remove delegates chosen by the states. Chairman Munisteri spoke on behalf of this resolution which was supported as well by Committeeman Dr. Robin Armstrong and Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell. That rule change passed unanimously. Then there was a battle over the resolution allowing states to continue beauty contests, which as noted above, was supported by Texas delegation and Rules Committee. Chairman Munisteriagain took to the microphone to support his resolution, however it was defeated 2-1 by the general body. That evening the RNC hosted a dinner at the Ronald Reagan Museum and Library. David Horwitz was the featured speaker. The RNC concluded on Saturday with a breakfast at which former Congressman Asa Hutchinson spoke. The next meeting of the RNC is anticipated to be at the end of summer, probably in Chicago.
The following are comments from our Committee Members.
State Chairman Steve Munisteri commented: “I was pleased that the Texas delegation maintained its tradition of the last couple years of reaching consensus and voting as a block on major issues. I am very proud of the fact that Texas continued to speak out for the grassroots by advocating that RNC policies come from the bottom up rather than from the top down. Although we didn’t get everything we wanted, we do feel that our concerns were heard. I also was very pleased that Chairman Reince Priebus plans to spend money out in the field among the states and more specifically to hire a couple hundred field staffers to work diverse communities and ensure that we have a 50 state, 365 day a year victory effort, rather than the traditional several month victory efforts just in targeted states.
National Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell commented: “Three days after being elected as National Committeewoman, I traveled to Hollywood, California, for the RNC board meeting. The theme was "Grow & Win"—a theme that must resonate loudly and clearly with voters if our party is to win across the country in 2014 and 2016. My focus at this meeting was to develop trust and build relationships with the other members, while observing and attending as many committee meetings and workshops as possible. All in all, I felt that I accomplished these goals.
It was a very informative meeting, with great discussions at both the Resolutions and Rules Committees. Chairman Munisteri stood strong for Texas and the grassroots during the rules discussion. Committeeman Robin Armstrong submitted 2 resolutions which both passed; one was to recognize the service of Borah Van Dormolen. Many members express their sympathy for the loss of Borah. She will be missed by the RNC.
It was a great experience. I am honored to serve as your National Committeewoman, and I look forward to the next meeting in August.”
National Committeeman Dr. Robin Armstrong added: "The RNC meeting held on April 10-13 in Hollywood, California was highly anticipated because of the attempted rules takeover at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Steve Munisteri represented us on the rules committee and ably articulated where the grassroots stood on the rules overreach. We had some victories, and were able to get some assurances that no Presidential candidate would ever be able to remove our national delegates.
On a personal note, I was honored to get two resolutions passed at this spring meeting. One resolution was titled: “Resolution Supporting a Strong Space Program” and the other was titled “Resolution Celebrating the Life, Accomplishments, and Memory of Borah van Dormolen.” The RNC allowed me to read the resolution celebrating Borah’s life during the general session on Friday afternoon. It was a great time to reflect on all that she meant to us.
I was fortunate to be able to defend our traditional stand on marriage in a Politico article and on Hardball with Chris Matthews on Friday, April 12. You can find the video on the internet if you wish, but the take home message for me was, we must defend our values without compromise on every news outlet (even MSNBC) and always be willing to promote what we believe to others who have never heard. Our next RNC meeting will be held in August and I look forward to working with Steve and Toni Anne to further our Texas values!"