James Dickey, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, has told Galveston County GOP officials to get their house in order — or risk losing delegates at the state’s Republican Party Convention in June.
Dickey sent an email to Galveston County Republican Party Chairman Carl Gustafson on Feb. 26, expressing concern that a recent vote taken at a county meeting “overstepped” in trying to remove another party official from office.
The chairman said he was monitoring the turmoil in Galveston County closely.
“If the competing interests continue in the direction they are going, the State Convention will likely be the ultimate arbiter of what is and what is not valid,” Dickey wrote. “This may result in tremendous cost to those delegates in your county who have nothing to do with these disagreements as they make plans to attend a state convention that may not recognize their credentials.”
Local delegates to the state party convention are chosen through locally held precinct and senate-district elections. Delegates who attend the state convention vote on things such as the official party platform.
Dickey said in the email he was concerned about a vote to remove Scott Apley, who is both the chairman of Senate District 11 and one of the county precinct chairs organizing against Gustafson.
Losing delegates would be a blow to local Republicans who invest time and money into supporting and developing the party locally, said J.T. Edwards, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, and one of the major organizers behind the moves to strip power from Gustafson.
“You’ll have people going to an event to try to participate in a process, only to find out because of careless actions of a poor leader that they can’t participate and have to go,” Edwards said.
In the monthslong saga within the county party, one of the loudest criticisms against Gustafson was over this ability to organize the precinct and district conventions. Gustafson and his supporters have dismissed the criticism, and have accused Edwards and other of misinterpreting party rules because of personality differences.
Gustafson declined to comment late Wednesday afternoon.
In a statement sent late Wednesday, Dickey said it was important for the Galveston County party to follow rules so a full delegation will be at the party convention.
“In a big tent party people will disagree,” Dickey said. “I am hopeful that those in Galveston County will resolve their differences in a manner that will avoid delegate challenges and I look forward to a successful state convention in San Antonio.”
Gustafson is facing a re-election challenge from Yolanda Waters in next week’s primary election.
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Galveston’s local U.S. representative was apparently the target of a conservative effort to oppose an increase in a federal gasoline tax.
The Dallas Morning News reports that a conservative action group, the Texas chapter of Americans for Prosperity, made thousands of calls into U.S. Rep. Randy Weber‘s district, which includes Galveston County.
Americans for Prosperity is backed by the billionaire Republican donors Charles and David Koch.
A spokesman told the Morning News the group just wanted to send a “friendly reminder to stand strong” to Weber and other representatives.
The gas tax has not been raised since 1993, but President Donald Trump has apparently floated the idea of raising it as a way to pay for infrastructure projects.
President Donald Trump lent his support to a group of incumbent Texas leaders up for re-election.
In two tweets on Tuesday, Trump endorsed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, Comptroller Glenn Hegar and Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick.
All of the incumbents have been vocal supporters of the president.
There was some twittering online after Trump left Bush out of his first statement. Bush is in one of the more competitive statewide GOP races, against former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, and he notably split from the rest of his family to endorse Trump in 2016.
Trump endorsed Bush four hours after endorsing Abbott.
“Texas LC George P. Bush backed me when it wasn’t the politically correct thing to do, and I back him now,” Trump said.
U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said the conservative group might support gun reform legislation involving background checks, but said “it’s really too early to tell the scope” of other legislative efforts. U.S. Rep. Randy Weber is a member of the Freedom Caucus. ... U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Chuck Grassley couldn’t reach a deal on ethanol regulation during a meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday. Cruz wants to ease rules requiring oil refiners to buy credits to meet environmental regulations. ... The Texas Tribune, quoting a Republican political observer on Galveston District Court Judge Michelle Slaughter‘s bid for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, reported: “She’s the least qualified, but she’s the farthest right.” ... The Galveston Municipal Police Association plans to hold a candidates forum for Galveston City Council candidates on Wednesday at the San Luis Resort, 5222 Seawall Blvd.