Texas GOP Delegates Elect Steve Munisteri State Chairman
For the first time in Republican Party of Texas history, a challenger defeated an incumbent in the race for state party chair. Steve Munisteri of Houston beat Cathie Adams, who had been elected in October by the state executive committee.
“Stand with Steve” signs and stickers blanketed the convention, and enthusiasm for Munisteri energized the delegates. Steve, founder of Young Conservatives of Texas, brings decades of experience in political organizing to the state party, and GOP insiders believe that this will be a new era in Texas Republican politics.
The last time that convention delegates chose a new state chairman was 1994 when they elected Dallas attorney Tom Pauken, current chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission. Since Pauken resigned mid-term in 1997, the SREC has been electing the state chair between conventions, allowing that interim chair to run as an “incumbent” at the subsequent state convention. Because an incumbent chairman sets the agenda for the convention, appoints committee chairs, and in general is large and in charge on stage, it is difficult to oust a sitting chair. Newly elected Chairman Steve Munisteri has broken the cycle of circumventing the delegates, and after 16 years of rubber-stamping the SREC, Texas Republicans have once again found their voice.