Attendees pose in front of the Republican elephant statue.
Attendees of the 2018 Republican Party of Texas convention in San Antonio pose for photographs in front of a GOP elephant sculpture. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

With Allen West’s resignation as Texas Republican chairman comes an opportunity for the Texas Republican Party to position itself for great success in the 2022 midterm elections and beyond. 

On Sunday, West announced he is running for governor, and as early as this weekend the State Republican Executive Committee will meet to decide who should be the new leader of the Texas GOP. With that decision, our party’s leaders may very well be determining whether the Republican Party will remain the dominant party in Texas for years to come.

While many casual observers don’t know the names of Republican or Democratic state party chairs, the positions are not insignificant. The chairperson often plays a vital role in determining how the party will conduct voter outreach and fundraising efforts, and they can even have great influence over candidate selection and the party’s state policy positions. 

Last year Texas Democrats thought they could latch on to an anti-Trump wave and win the state, only to find out that a majority of Texans still favor Republican policies.  Nevertheless, Texas Republicans can’t ignore the fact that thousands of suburban voters, who traditionally have voted for Republican candidates, refused to vote for President Trump.  So at this pivotal moment for our party, to whom should Texas Republicans turn to fill the important role of GOP chair?

Selecting a chairperson for the party at this time was made all the more important by Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent decision to call a special session of the Texas Legislature. The special session, which began Thursday, will focus on 11 issues that have been prioritized by the governor, including election integrity, border security, and social media censorship. While some may see these as “fringe” issues, many consider these items important to address.

Ensuring that people have confidence that our elections will remain free and fair is critical. Mandating that people follow the law in coming into our country is essential.  And allowing all non-violent voices to exercise their right to free speech, regardless of their political beliefs, is the right thing to do. These are pressing issues and we can find solutions to each of them.  

The primary job of our next party chairperson will be to take the results of this year’s legislative work and show all Texans why the issues addressed are relevant — and how addressing those issues will benefit them. Whoever is elected needs to go to all parts of the state and speak to all groups of people — regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation — about these issues, our solutions for them, and the other issues the people want us to focus on in the future. The last two election cycles have shown us that there isn’t any group of Texas voters that can be taken for granted.  

Additionally, as the Texas Republican leadership considers who should be our next Texas GOP chairman, one can only hope that these leaders have learned lessons from the Trump years. While Trump’s no-nonsense, direct style turned off some voters, including many traditional Republicans, it also galvanized people who previously did not vote and attracted new voters from groups that historically do not vote in large numbers for Republicans. Our next party leader needs to be someone who will continue to make inroads with these voters.  

To do that we must select someone who has a vision for the Republican Party that Texans of all backgrounds will want to support in the future. That party will be one that sticks to its founding principles and strictly abides by the Constitution as written. It is a party that will be unwavering in its effort to promote policies supporting individual freedoms and economic prosperity for all. And it is a party that will put forth candidates who no longer feel constrained by political correctness or past governing norms, but who instead will directly identify problems and fight for practical solutions.  

Finally, those selecting the next chair of the Texas Republican Party must remember that the character of our leader matters. The person selected to lead our state party should be someone who is a compassionate, well-respected, and articulate spokesperson for the conservative principles we stand for. Our next chairman will be responsible for clearly presenting our positions to all Texans in a way that will make them confident our policies will make their lives better in the present and future.  Selecting this person will not be easy, but the chance to select a new leader with a positive, no-nonsense, and inclusive vision for the Texas Republican Party is a great one. It is an opportunity that, if capitalized upon, can ensure that Texas Republicans will continue to control the agenda in Austin for years to come. 

Marc Whyte

Marc Whyte is the District 10 Zoning Commissioner, Governor’s appointee to the Texas Transportation Advisory Commission, and a practicing business attorney. He is married to Lorien Whyte and is the...