As the Republican Party of Texas’ (RPT) online convention was marked by difficulty after difficulty, challenger and former Florida congressman, Allen West, soundly knocked off incumbent James Dickey and will become the next chairman of the Texas GOP.
West tweeted when the results became clear, “I just want to say how truly humbled I am by this honor, and that I will work hard for Texas and Texans. I would like to thank my amazing and dedicated team, as well as an incredible number of supporters. Thank you all! Now the work begins…”
In concession just after 4:00 a.m. on Monday morning, Dickey posted, “It has been an incredible time as Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. I am so grateful to the amazing supporters who rallied around my campaign.”
“We are truly a bottom-up Party here in Texas, written in our rules to be that way, allowing our voices to be truly representative of those who make our Party great. I wish Lt. Col. West the very best in this role. Thank you for the honor of serving as your Chair. Let’s win in November. May God bless you and May God bless Texas,” he concluded, congratulating West.
West teased his run for state GOP chair about a year ago and then made it official a month later. And after activist Amy Hedtke threw her name into contention at the last minute, it became a three-person race.
But in the end, West won rather handily.
During the campaign, he has criticized Dickey for disorganization amongst the party and for overseeing the 2018 midterms in which 12 Texas House seats and three State Senate seats all flipped blue and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) narrowly escaped an insurgent Beto O’Rourke.
Meanwhile, Dickey touted his fundraising prowess, having raised $8 million ahead of the 2020 general election. He also boasted that the party’s program had registered 120,000 new likely GOP voters going into November.
Dickey became chairman in 2017 after appointment by the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) and then won election for the next term at the 2018 state convention.
But a growing section of the delegates moved against Dickey both out of discontent with how the 2018 elections went and concern over the coming one.
Other contributors included his handling of the Speaker Bonnen-Empower Texans tape fiasco — specifically, that he did not come out harder against the Republican speaker for his conduct; his quick denunciation, and call for resignation, of various county GOP chairs who shared a conspiracy theory about George Floyd and the circumstances surrounding his killing at the hands of Minneapolis police; and the Republican legislators’ failure to accomplish or even attempt to pass party legislative priorities like constitutional carry and the abolition of abortion.
And that was until the tremendous convention disarray was thrown into the mix after Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner canceled the party’s contract to use the George R. Brown Convention Center for the in-person event less than a week before it was set to happen.
That sparked a series of legal challenges that ultimately proved mostly fruitless and the convention was held online, with complications abound. West criticized Dickey, calling the event a “debacle,” and accusing him of “disenfranchising delegates.” He then called on RPT to postpone the convention until all delegates could be properly credentialed.
At the beginning of proceedings Sunday, the RPT reported about 1,200 of the total near-7,500 registered delegates had not been properly credentialed.
But despite technical problems and issues credentialing delegates, the marquee convention business was completed.
National committee delegates were selected and presidential electors were approved, however, the party’s legislative priorities and party planks have yet to be solidified. The general body voted to postpone the non-election items of business to be taken up at a time yet to be determined.
But the most anticipated portion was the chairman’s election. That didn’t come until the wee hours of Monday morning after tech problems and procedural delays continually pushed back the estimated time of the vote.
Right as the general body was set to go into their Senate District caucuses to vote on the chairman race, Dickey reported a “distributed denial of service” attack on the party’s servers. This further delayed the actions and caused a weary convention body to grow even more irritated after a week of pandemonium.
In a press release, West’s campaign announced his challenge to Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa to “educate the public on key policy differences between the parties.”
West is a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and served as a congressman in Florida’s 22nd District.
“We need to focus on maintaining the conservative policies that made Texas strong and drive voter outreach across the state,” West stated.
He’s got his work to cut out for him. RealClearPolitics’ polling average show President Trump and Joe Biden in a dead heat, and Texas Democrats are emboldened by their 2018 gains, looking to continue the clawing back of the GOP majority this year, too.