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Abraham George elected Texas GOP chair

Former Collin County GOP Chair Abraham George was elected the next chairman of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT), succeeding outgoing Chair Matt Rinaldi, who endorsed George for the spot.

George defeated current party Vice Chair Dana Myers, Weston Martinez, Mike Garcia, Ben Armenta, and Travis County GOP Chair Matt Mackowiak.

After the Senate District caucuses completed their voting, George led with 14 votes to Martinez’s and Myers’ six apiece, Garcia’s two, and Armenta and Mackowiak’s one each. In the State Nominations Committee — which is tasked with submitting a report to the floor with a recommended candidate for chair — George’s total jumped to 16 and Myers gained one vote at Martinez’s expense.

This was enough to push things to the floor of the full delegation, at which point George was recommended while Martinez and Myers were nominated from the floor; Myers was nominated by John Beckmeyer, former RPT executive director under Rinaldi.

Once counting began, news broke that between 100 and 200 delegates had been locked out of the hall per standard procedure during vote counting.

In the three-person race, George came out on top with Myers in second and Martinez in third. The top two advanced to a runoff, wherein Martinez, and most of the rest of the previous field, endorsed Myers.

Once the second ballot occurred, George took three out of four of the districts that went for Martinez, each by slim margins. That was not enough to make up enough ground for Myers.

The race was already crowded going into the final two weeks — Myers, Martinez, George, Armenta, and Garcia had all thrown their hats into the ring. Then the Friday before, Mackowiak jumped in with a last-minute bid, followed by an even later bid by longtime activist Amy Hedtke who filed for multiple different positions.

It became a proxy fight in the broader clash over the RPT’s direction. George was backed by Rinaldi and Paxton, both of whom favor party involvement in primaries and a more punitive approach generally toward GOP-elected officials they deem to have fallen short of the party’s ideas.

In the latest report, the Texas GOP spent more than $300,000 campaigning against Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) in House District (HD) 21 — something permitted following Phelan’s censure by the party’s executive committee.

A similar vein to this trend comes in the form of closed primaries. The Texas GOP opened the door for that at 2022’s convention and passed a new rule establishing that on Friday. But even those pushing it acknowledge an impending legal fight over the change.

Now the party looks ahead to the 2024 general election.

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