Republican Party of Texas
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2011)|
|Republican Party of Texas|
|Senate leader||David Dewhurst|
|House leader||Joe Straus|
|Headquarters||1108 Lavaca, Suite 500
Austin, Texas 78701
|National affiliation||Republican Party|
|Seats in State Upper Houses|
|Seats in State Lower Houses|
|Politics of the United States
The Republican Party of Texas (RPT) is one of the two major political parties in the U.S. State of Texas. It is affiliated with the United States Republican Party. The State Chairman is Steve Munisteri, a retired attorney and businessman from Houston, and the Vice-Chair is Melinda Fredricks of Conroe. The RPT is headquartered in Downtown Austin. The RPT's mission is to promote a conservative philosophy of government by promoting conservative principles. The RPT is legally classified as a political action committee whose structure is determined by state law and by party rules not in conflict with state law.
- 1 History
- 2 Current elected officials
- 3 List of State Party Chairmen
- 4 Auxiliary organizations
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The Republican Party developed dramatically in Texas during Reconstruction after constitutional amendments freeing the slaves and giving suffrage to black males, as blacks joined the party that had ensured the end of slavery. African-American leaders, frequently men of mixed race who had been free and educated before the war, provided leadership in extending education and work opportunities to blacks after the war. They supported establishment of a public school system for the first time. Men such as William Madison McDonald in Fort Worth, Norris Wright Cuney in Galveston, and Henry Clay Ferguson worked for the black community and the state.
In 1870, Edmund Davis was elected Governor, but was soundly defeated in 1874. In the year 1876, Republicans had made gradual gains in Texas, earning nearly one-third of the statewide vote and electing a small number of candidates to the State Legislature (including several African Americans). Democrats established legal racial segregation and disfranchisement.
After the Reconstruction era, the Republican Party of Texas gradually lost power, and after the turn of the century, the "Lily Whites" pushed blacks out of power.
The Democrats passed disfranchising laws near the turn of the century requiring poll taxes be paid prior to voter registration; together with the party establishing white primaries, black voting dropped dramatically, from more than 100,000 statewide in the 1890s, to 5,000 in 1906. Mexican Americans and poor whites were also adversely affected by such measures. For more than 100 years, the Republicans were a minority party in the state.
The first Republican statewide primary was held in 1926, but drew only 15,239 voters. By contrast, the Democrat primary in the same year drew 821,234 voters, as disfranchisement was well established, and Texas was essentially a one-party, white-only voting state. Only two more Republican primaries were run in the next thirty-four years.
In 1961, James A. Leonard, was the "first Executive Director of the Republican Party of Texas to emphasize the Party's new intention to become a force in state government." "In the dead of night," he moved the Party Headquarters from Houston to Austin" and "mobilized the Party's meager resources to support the candidacy of a 36-year-old Associate Professor of Government, John Tower, to fill Lyndon Johnson's vacant US Senate Seat." James A. Leonard "was an architect to John Tower's breakthrough 1961 Senate victory claim to Lyndon Johnson's (US) seat..." " in the special election after Johnson had been elected as vice-president with John F. Kennedy on the Democratic ticket. John Tower served in this position until his retirement in 1985.
African Americans had been mounting challenges to segregation and disfranchisement across the South to have their constitutional rights enforced. After Kennedy's assassination in 1963, President Lyndon Johnson urged passage of the civil rights legislation he had supported. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In reaction across the South, conservative whites began to realign with the Republican Party, while African Americans overwhelmingly registered with the Democratic Party, which was helping enforce their rights.
In 1966, two Republicans were elected to the US House of Representatives, including future President George H.W. Bush. For the first time since Reconstruction, three Republicans were elected to the Texas House of Representatives and one Republican was elected to the Texas Senate. By 1972, Texas Republicans had made gains to 17 members of the Texas Legislature and 3 members of the Texas Senate.
The true turning point for Texas Republicans occurred in the May 1976 primary, when Ronald Reagan defeated Gerald Ford by a two-to-one margin in the state's presidential primary. According to former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, due to Reagan's victory in the Texas primary, "the whole shape and nature of the state changed."
104 years after the last Republican governor, Bill Clements eked out a narrow victory in November 1978. Together, Clements and Tower combined their organizational skills to continue building the RPT and started laying the groundwork for future growth. In 1984, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Phil Gramm led a GOP ticket that relied upon the RPT to provide a centralized network of communications. Throughout the rest of the decade, the total Republican vote continued to increase, and the party made large gains in both the state legislature and in local races.
Since 1994, every statewide elected office has been held by a Republican. Both houses of the Texas Legislature feature Republican majorities. In the State House, Republicans hold a super-majority of 101 Republican representatives in the 150-member body, and in the Texas Senate, Republicans hold 19 of 31 seats. Both houses are officially organized on a bi-partisan basis, with both Republicans and Democrats holding committee chairs.
At the federal level, the Texas Congressional delegation is composed of 23 Republicans and 9 Democrats; both of its US Senators are Republican. The last time Texas was carried by a Democratic presidential candidate was in 1976.
In its 2012 platform, the Republican Party of Texas rejected the teaching of "Higher Order Thinking Skills... critical thinking skills and similar programs," giving as a reason that this sort of teaching has "the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority." Media ridicule led to a response from RPT Communications Director Chris Elam that the inclusion of the term "critical thinking skills" was an oversight which cannot be corrected until 2014, when the next state convention will occur.
Current elected officials
The Republican Party of Texas controls all elected statewide offices, holds a 19-12 majority in the Texas Senate, and a 95-55 majority in the Texas House of Representatives. Republicans also hold both of the state's U.S. Senate seats and 24 of the state's 36 U.S. House seats.
Members of Congress
U.S. House of Representatives (listed by district number)
- TX-01: Louie Gohmert
- TX-02: Ted Poe
- TX-03: Sam Johnson
- TX-04: Ralph Hall
- TX-05: Jeb Hensarling
- TX-06: Joe Barton
- TX-07: John Culberson
- TX-08: Kevin Brady
- TX-10: Michael McCaul
- TX-11: Mike Conaway
- TX-12: Kay Granger
- TX-13: Mac Thornberry
- TX-14: Randy Weber
- TX-17: Bill Flores
- TX-19: Randy Neugebauer
- TX-21: Lamar S. Smith
- TX-22: Pete Olson
- TX-24: Kenny Marchant
- TX-25: Roger Williams
- TX-26: Michael C. Burgess
- TX-27: Blake Farenthold
- TX-31: John Carter
- TX-32: Pete Sessions
- TX-36: Steve Stockman
- Governor: Rick Perry
- Lieutenant Governor: David Dewhurst
- Attorney General: Greg Abbott
- Comptroller of Public Accounts: Susan Combs
- State Land Commissioner: Jerry Patterson
- State Agriculture Commissioner: Todd Staples
- Railroad Commission Chairman: Barry Smitherman
- Railroad Commissioner: David Porter
- Railroad Commissioner: Christi Craddick
- State Chairman: Steve Munisteri
- State Vice-Chairman: Melinda Fredricks
- Secretary: Mandy Tschoepe
- Parliamentarian: Butch Davis
- Sergeant at Arms: Nelda Eppes
- Treasurer: Tom Mechler
- Assistant Treasurer: Tom Washington
- General Counsel: Patrick O'Daniel
- Assistant General Counsel: Eric Opiela (Candidate for agriculture commissioner, 2014)
- Chaplain: Rex Johnson
State Republican Executive Committee Members
Biannually, in even-numbered years, delegates at the Texas GOP State Convention elect a man and a woman from each of the thirty-one State Senatorial districts to serve a two-year term on the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC). The State Republican Executive Committee along with the elected State Chair and State Vice Chair manage the affairs of the Republican Party of Texas between state conventions. 
List of State Party Chairmen
- Thad Hutcheson (1958)
- State Party Chairmen since 1962
- Peter O'Donnell (1962-1969)
- William Steger (1969-1971)
- Missing (1971-1976)
- Ray Hutchison - (1976-1977)
- Ray Barnhart - (1977-1979)
- Chet Upham - (1979-1983)
- George Strake, Jr. - (1983-1988)
- Fred Meyer (Texas politician) - (1988-1994)
- Tom Pauken - (1994-1997)
- Susan Weddington - (1997-2003)
- Tina Benkiser - (2003-2009)
- Cathie Adams - (2009-2010)
- Steve Munisteri - (2010–present)
The official college Republican Party of Texas' student wing is Texas College Republicans, which has over 35 chapters statewide.
High School Republicans of Texas is the Republican Party of Texas' Official High School Republican Auxiliary with chapters in high schools and communities across Texas. For more information, visit their website at www.hsrtx.org.
The Texas Federation of Republican Women (TFRW) is a volunteer women's organization that has "long-standing goals of education, training, participation in government, electing Republicans and encouraging Republican women to run for office". TFRW has 164 local clubs across Texas with over 10,000 members.
The Texas Republican County Chairmen's Association (TRCCA) is composed of the elected chairman of the county Republican party organizations in Texas and operates to support and provide networking opportunities for elected Republican county chairmen in Texas.
The Texas Young Republican Federation (TYRF) is an organization composed of Young Republican clubs across Texas which are open to registered voters who are between the ages of 18 and 40 years old. The TYRF goals are grassroots activism, leadership development, community service and club development.
The Texas Federation for Republican Outreach is committed to increasing participation and affiliation of African-American voters within the Republican Party, and to increase the number of elected Republican African-American candidates in Texas.
The Texas Republican Assembly is a grassroots volunteer organization dedicated to promoting and electing conservative Republican candidates in Texas. There are six charter clubs across Texas.
The Republican National Hispanic Assembly has a chapter in Texas, whose mission is to increase participation and affiliation of Hispanic American voters within the Republican Party, and to increase the number of elected Republican Hispanic candidates in Texas.
The Latino National Republican Coalition of Texas believes "in active civic engagement as a means to bridge the gap between the Hispanic Community and the GOP." There are five chapters throughout Texas.
- African-American Pioneers of Texas: From the Old West to the New Frontiers (Teacher’s Manual). Museum of Texas Tech University: Education Division. p. 25.
- "History of the Republican Party of Texas". texasgop.org. Archived from the original on April 22, 2011. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
- "James A. Leonard,Texas State Republican Executive Committee Resolution 9/29/2013". texasgop.org. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- "Ronald Reagan: How he changed Texas Politics Forever". chron.com. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- "And Longtime Democrat Aaron Pena Makes It 101". kwtx.com. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- Strauss, Valerie. "Texas GOP rejects ‘critical thinking’ skills. Really." Washington Post, 9 July 2012.
- Lach, Eric. "Texas GOP's 2012 Platform Accidentally Opposes Teaching Of 'Critical Thinking Skills' TPM Muckraker, 29 June 2012.
- "Texas College Republicans - The Official Home of the Texas College Republicans". txcollegerepublicans.com. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
- "TFRW Home Page". tfrw.org. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
- "Texas Republican County Chairmans Association". trcca.org. Archived from the original on August 18, 2010. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
- "Texas Young Republican Federation". texasyoungrepublicans.com. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
- "About Us - Texas Federation for Republican Outreach". txfro.org. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
- "Texas Republican Assembly - The Republican Wing of the Republican Party". texasra.org. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
- "About Us - The Republican National Hispanic Assembly". rnha.org. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
- "Welcome to the Latino National Republican Coalition of Texas". lnrctexas.org. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
- The Republican Party of Texas website
- County Party Web Site Directory
- Texas House Republican Caucus
- Texas Federation of republican women
- Texas Ethics Commission
- Texas Young Republican Federation
- 2010 Texas Republican Party Platform