Chairman's Update - July 2011 Report

RPT Chairman Steve Munisteri- In the month of July, the priority was to address the potential problem the Republican Party of Texas has relative to the selection of national convention delegates. As previously reported, in August 2010, the Republican National Committee (RNC) adopted a rule which requires states that hold primaries between the first Tuesday in March and the last day of March, to select its delegates in a proportional fashion. Bill Crocker, our National Committeeman and General Counsel for the Republican National Committee, presented an analysis of the rule to the SREC which concluded that it could be argued that our current selection method could be found in violation of current RNC Rules. The current selection method provides for a candidate to receive all the delegates from a Congressional district if he / she gets over 50% or if no other candidate gets 20%. Mr. Crocker noted that if found to be in violation, the penalty is the loss of half of the state's delegation to the national convention.

During July, I met with our National Committeeman Bill Crocker and National Committeewoman Borah Van Dormolen to discuss the best way to handle this. These meetings later included RPT general counsel, Patrick O'Daniel and assistant counsel Eric Opiela. We reached the unanimous conclusion that the safest route to ensure that we were not challenged is to change RPT rules so as to yield proportional representation. However, there are some difficulties - RPT rules can only be changed at a convention, but there is a provision that allows for a temporary or interim change of the rules, by 2/3 vote of the SREC, in the event that there is a change in the RNC rules or state statute. Bill Crocker has offered the opinion that the SREC is allowed to make such a change as the RNC rules change does constitute a change sufficient to invoke this provision. This opinion is also shared by our RPT Parliamentarian Butch Davis.

The next step was to come up with a process to select national delegates proportionately. SREC District 7 member Clint Moore, who is also a member of the SREC Rules Committee, volunteered to undertake the task of formulating a new selection process which complies with RNC rules and would satisfy the majority of the SREC and grassroots activists. After countless hours of work and numerous drafts, Clint has come up with a proposed solution.

The draft of the proposal was then circulated to the SREC members and I held two statewide SREC leadership calls to go over Clint's proposal and address any concerns. There was near unanimity to adopt the portion of Clint's rule which allows for proportional allocation of delegates, maintains the 3 delegates per Congressional district minimum, and utilizes a statewide nominations committee. However, several SREC members requested that he modify the process so as to ensure a greater chance that pledged delegates will actually support the candidate that they are assigned to. At the time of this report, Clint was finalizing a new draft which would address those concerns. Once the final draft is circulated, the next step is to ensure that 2/3 of the SREC supports the adoption of the new rule. If they do, a vote will be scheduled at the October 1st SREC meeting to approve the change. The RNC requires that we submit a description of our selection process by 11:59 pm, October 1st. I would like to thank Clint Moore for all of his hard work on the proposed rule change.

In July, the RPT co-sponsored a County Chairman training in Wharton County along with the Texas Republican County Chairmen's Association - our Communications Director Chris Elam represented the party at the event where GOP chairs from several local counties were in attendance to learn from Medina County Chair Ann Peden and longtime grassroots leader Loyce McCarter about how to grow their organizations and run an effective and efficient primary. The RPT also co-sponsored a similar event in Kerrville the following weekend, which RPT staff member Nick Carona attended to represent the party. The Kerrville event was extremely well-attended and was a terrific day of fellowship and instruction for our county chairs. Special thanks goes to TRCCA President Linda Rogers for her help in organizing these events! Also in July, Organization Director Beth Cubriel and other members of the staff spent a great deal of time organizing our upcoming Campaign Leadership training in Austin, scheduled for Aug. 12-13.

This past month, I was also served with another redistricting lawsuit naming me as a defendant in my official capacity as State Chairman. I have now been named in three such lawsuits, which has required us to hire attorneys to represent the party. Donna Davidson, who only last year handled Senator Brian Birdwell's successful defense of the challenge to his residency, has agreed to represent the party at a greatly reduced rate. Several of the suits have been consolidated in to one action which will be tried before a three-judge panel. The three-judge panel will determine whether the previously drawn redistricting maps meet federal requirements. The suits in large part have been brought by Democrats and Democratic front groups. These suits will be a drain on the party's financial resources, but we are committed to defending them. The trial is scheduled to commence on Tuesday, September 6th in San Antonio - I will attend and provide you with a complete report.

On the financial front, we co-hosted a fundraiser in San Angelo with the Tom Green County Republican Party on July 26th. This event was coordinated by our Finance Director Keri Mason and SREC member Russ Deuerstine. The featured guest was Governor Rick Perry and I had the honor of introducing him. RNC Committeewoman Borah Van Dormolen also spoke at the event, and SREC member Jason Moore was also in attendance. The event was very successful, grossing $33,000. The following day, I briefly spoke at the Jefferson GOP fundraiser at which Governor Perry was the featured guest as well. The event was hosted by SREC member Michael Truncale. Former State Chairman Tina Benkiser and former Vice-Chairman Robin Armstrong were also in attendance, as well as State Representative Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton and State Representative Allan Ritter, along with State Senator Tommy Williams.

I finished off the month by attending the Senatorial Districts 11 & 17 Workshop and Town Hall in League City, hosted by SREC members Tina Gibson, Bruce Campbell, Dennis Paul and Sheryl Berg. State Senator Joan Huffman and State Representative John Davis spoke to the group and State Representative David Simpson also appeared to address the crowd. I was pleased to be able to also speak to the participants, and I congratulate our SREC members on a fantastic event.

On the financial front, the party ended the month of July with all of its bills paid to zero, as usual. Approximately three quarters of a million dollars total cash on hand, of which approximately $700,000 was in non-dedicated accounts. This amount includes $100,000 in our Rainy Day Fund.

Our current goals for the remainder of the summer are to finish work on the RNC delegate selection rules change, drafting a preliminary Victory budget, and scheduling fundraisers and training sessions for the fall.

This last week's debt ceiling fight emphasizes the fact that in order for us to have significant long-term solutions to our nation's debt problem, we must defeat President Obama and elect a Republican presidential candidate committed to balancing the budget by reducing the size of government. In the upcoming months, the party hopes to roll out its Victory plan, which will allow us to do our part. I hope you enjoy the remaining days of the summer and I thank you for your support of the RPT.

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