Monday, May 16, 2016

Inside the Crazy 72-Hour Statewide Race for RNC

The Republican Party of Texas state convention wrapped up on Saturday. As many of you know, I decided to run for National Committeewoman on the Wednesday before the convention while I was also serving on the Platform Committee. 

Yes, it was crazy, but I felt that someone needed to challenge Toni Anne Dashiell because she had never been elected by the delegates and she will be serving for four years. Toni Anne is an establishment Republican and has never really worried about our platform positions. She is what we like to call a "country club" Republican, as opposed to me, a true grassroots platform-oriented conservative. The fact that she refused to endorse Ted Cruz even after he had won the Texas primary was definitely a problem for me.

There is nothing like a 72-hour statewide campaign to get your blood flowing! When I spoke to the convention in the first general session on Thursday, most of the delegates had gone to lunch and the floor was mostly empty. I had a great reception by those who were there, though, and word started getting out that I was running. Tom Pauken, Tim Lambert, Ron Hinds, and my husband Tim all went on stage with me, and I want to thank them all for their support!

On Thursday we got my literature and blanketed the general session and caucuses. Support was tremendous and momentum started to build. It is always great to reconnect with so many old friends!

By Saturday morning I was very optimistic and was getting extremely enthusiastic responses from the caucuses where I was able to speak to the delegates. As you know, candidates running statewide have to speak to all 36 caucuses which are spread out over a large area, and it is difficult to make it to all of them. The Dallas Convention Center is a long, spread-out convention center and I definitely got my exercise.

This is when things started to get sketchy. When I showed up in CD 32, the Caucus Chairman, Dan Pickens, said that I would not be allowed to speak during the caucus. I told him that the supplemental rules stated that candidates could speak during the counting of ballots and during announcements. Dan Pickens said that I would not be allowed to speak at any time. I asked him to show me the rule and he refused. I went to the floor microphone and introduced myself at the mic, and Dan turned off the mic and asked the sergeant at arms to ask me to leave. (I did win CD 32, though. Thank you to Senator Don Huffines for speaking for me in that caucus.)

Dan Pickens violated Supplemental Rule No. 24 - Non-Caucus Business or Speeches, which says:
Non-caucus business or speeches may only take place during the counting of ballots or during announcements. 

Jim Wiggins and Melinda Fredricks did the same thing in their caucus and said that I would not be allowed to speak even during the counting of ballots. Again, a violation of Rule 24. 

This happened in a few more caucuses, but I was so harried trying to make it to all 36 rooms that I did not write them all down.

Meanwhile, my opponent was being allowed to speak because she was a "party officer" and she was even being introduced by our state chairman and vice chairman. 

After I had made the rounds and my own caucus had voted, I went to get a salad for lunch. Results were coming in and I was tied with Toni Anne by all accounts. Then the RPT sent a text telling me that I was wanted backstage to speak to the delegates. When I asked why, they said that they wanted to give all candidates five minutes to speak. When I asked what the results were, they said that they did not know.

I ran backstage, and Tom Mechler was standing there, so I asked him what was happening and why I was speaking? He said well, you want to take this to a floor vote, right? I asked him what the results were, and he said that he didn't know! I find that hard to believe.

Robin Armstrong arrived backstage, and he was not happy. He also asked what was going on. No one really gave a good answer. He had won the caucuses 20-16. But no one could tell me my results!

Even after I had spoken to the convention, someone from the floor asked for the results of the caucus votes in my race, and the parliamentarian said that he did not know! So why were we having a floor vote?

It is highly unusual for a floor vote to be called before the voting has ended, but that is what happened. That is also a violation of the rules. 

Also, my opponent knew that there was going to be a floor vote well before I had any idea what was happening. She sent out a global email alert to her list asking everyone to stay for the general session to vote for her. Many of my voters left and went home after the caucuses because they did not know there would be another vote.

In my past experience, calling for a floor vote is a very unpopular decision. It causes the convention to last much longer, many delegates need to leave because of travel arrangements, and it makes the person who asked for the vote appear to be a sore loser.

The kicker is that neither I nor Robin asked for this floor vote. If I lost and Robin won, what was the reason to call for a floor vote? Why not just go with the results from the caucuses?

It was a very strange tactic, but in retrospect, it seems that either I won in the caucuses and they wanted to stop my victory, or "they" wanted to try to overturn Robin's victory with a floor vote they were hoping would favor his challenger.

The power of incumbency is difficult to overcome as a challenger at a convention. 

I won at least five caucuses that I later lost on the floor because of folks leaving. Had I also won those caucuses from the floor, it would have been an overwhelming victory!

Bottom line, if you support a candidate at a convention, you need to stay until the convention adjourns. 

Thank you so much to all of you who supported my candidacy! We need to hold our leaders accountable. Please stay engaged and energized!

No comments: