Texas Has a New Republican Party Chair - James Dickey
by Sonja Harris on June 5, 2017 at 9:42 AM
The Wyndham Garden Hotel in Austin was the setting for the election of the Texas Republican Party Chairman on Saturday, June 3rd. The standing room only crowd filled with State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) members, state party elected officials and countless supporters for both candidates, James Dickey, Travis County Republican Party Chairman, and Rick Figueroa, a businessman from Brenham, all waited anxiously for the secret paper ballots to be counted. Tom Mechler’s resignation on May 20 took most of the state Republicans by surprise. Figueroa was strongly backed by Mechler while Dickey was backed by the grassroots and Texas Right to Life because of his strong prolife stance.
The 62 members of the SREC and the vice chair, Amy Clark, voted in the election to replace Mechler. James Dickey won by one vote, 32 to 31, in a surprisingly-tight count. Dickey took to the microphone and said, “I am humbled and honored.” He was also ‘disappointed’ that the vote was so close because his intentions are to unify the party. It didn’t take Dickey long to make some changes by appointing Chris Gober as General Counsel and Trey Trainor as Assistant General Counsel. In roughly 10 days Dickey was able to gather enough support to feel confident that he could be a formidable candidate to beat Figueroa who presently sits on President Trump’s National Hispanic Advisory Council.
SREC 21 member Naomi Narvaiz and SREC 7 member Mark Ramsey gave the nominating speeches for Dickey to the members. Narvaiz had this to say about Dickey after he won.
"It was a pleasure to offer one of the nominating speeches for Mr. James Dickey in his race to become the Republican Party of Texas Chairman. He has earned the trust of Texas grassroots from across our State and of the top conservative advocates and organizations for his principled character and enduring work. It is time for all Texas Republicans to come together and support our Chairman and our Platform to continue to win for our State!”
And Ramsey was just as happy when he said, "I am pleased that in a very short two week period, a smooth transition to a new chair for the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) has taken place. I congratulate James Dickey and am hopeful that Rick Figueroa will continue to be involved with our party, the largest GOP organization in the country."
Figueroa had his family beside him waiting in the audience to hear the results. While visibly disappointed in his loss, he did manage to tell me that, “It’s been an amazing experience and the support I received from my family was life changing.”
According to an article in the ‘My Statesman’ written by Jonathan Tilove, Figueroa has no intention of campaigning against Dickey for chairman at the 2018 convention. Dickey will face the Texas Delegates in June 2018 at the convention to be elected permanent chair. Just because Figueroa will not challenge him does not mean he will not have an opponent.
Our nation and Texas needs unity and Dickey will be a big player in this arena. Since he was so willing to reach out and shake the hands of his supporters and non-supporters, let’s all do our part to unite. Texas is the greatest state in the union and it is the people that make it so!
The Republican Party of Texas sent out this statement:
Chairman Dickey Statement on Becoming the Texas GOP Chairman
Austin- "I am truly honored to have been elected by the State Republican Executive Committee today as your new Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. Now that the election is over, I am asking SREC Members and Texas Republicans to join me in unifying our Party and rally behind our conservative principles. I thank everyone who supported me throughout this campaign. I thank Rick Figueroa for his efforts to help the party and I look forward to working with him to unify and grow the party. The work continues immediately to Keep Texas Red and prepare for a successful midterm election in 2018.”