Texas GOP vice chair challenges Matt Rinaldi

Republican Party of Texas Vice Chair Dr. Dana Myers announced on Friday that she will challenge incumbent Matt Rinaldi for the chair position of the Republican Party of Texas at the May convention following a raucous year for the state’s dominant political party.

Myers made the announcement at a Texas Federation of Republican Women’s board of directors meeting, drawing an enthusiastic reaction and a standing ovation from the audience of primarily women at a Georgetown hotel.

During a presentation on a precinct chair recruitment and training program, Myers remarked on what she called a decline in state party fundraising and the lack of an RPT election integrity unit before announcing she would be running for chair.

Myers did not mention Rinaldi by name, but she said she did not think it was the role of the RPT chair to endorse candidates in contested primary races or other Republican groups.

A former state representative, Rinaldi has waded into the 2024 primary contests and has endorsed candidate David Covey in his challenge to House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont). Last year he also endorsed in the race for chairman of the National Federation of Young Republicans, choosing Virginia’s candidate over the Texas Young Republican Federation (TYRF) candidate Hayden Padgett. In response, TYRF voted to disassociate from the RPT until “Rinaldi ceases to be an officer.”

Elected vice chair of the RPT in 2022, Myers previously served as vice chair of the Harris County Republican Party but was also part of the state party organization, having worked with former RPT chairmen James Dickey and Allen West.

Rinaldi responded to the announcement on social media with a defense of his record, saying, “The Texas GOP under my leadership is coming off its strongest election performance since 2014 and has done more to challenge the Nikki Haley wing of the party than ever before.”

Rinaldi said that although he had not officially announced his re-election campaign, he had already been making campaign stops and for now would be focused on the primary elections coming up in March. He added that he was not surprised to have a challenger this year.

“The establishment wing of the Republican Party, the Nikki Haley wing, doesn’t like the fact that the Texas GOP is acting as the voice of the grassroots. We are challenging elected officials that campaigned as Republicans but do not govern as Republicans, and a lot of people don’t like that,” said Rinaldi.

Rifts within the party were exacerbated by the impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxon in 2023, with Rinaldi coming down hard on the side of the embattled attorney general.

Rinaldi also drew the ire of activists who want to place the question of Texas secession on the 2024 primary ballot after he informed the Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM) that their petition had been rejected due to invalid electronic signatures, missing information, and missing the filing deadline.

Last fall, party faithful clashed over revelations that online commentator Nick Fuentes – who espouses white supremacist and antisemitic views – was photographed going into the offices of Pale Horse Strategies, the umbrella firm for Defend Texas Liberty PAC, a top donor to the RPT.

Last December, the State Republican Executive Committee passed resolutions condemning antisemitism and stating support for Israel, but in a narrow vote from which Rinaldi abstained, additional language condemning those who “tolerate anti-Semitism, pro-Nazi sympathies, or Holocaust denial” failed to pass.

The RPT chair is elected every two years by delegates to the party’s state convention, with this year's event scheduled for May 23 through 25 in San Antonio.

Rinaldi expressed confidence that he would be re-elected.

“I think we are going to prevail because the Texas Republican is a model for what other Republican parties should be doing across the United States. We not only win elections, we won the 2022 election overwhelmingly, but we also turn those electoral victories into policy victories by being very active in shaping legislation.”

Myers did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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