An Introduction to the 2018 Texas GOP Convention

This week, thousands of conservative activists across the Lone Star State will gather in San Antonio for one of the largest political gatherings in the world: the Republican Party of Texas 2018 Convention.

In fact, the RPT convention is the second largest political gathering in the world, surpassed only by China’s Communist Party Convention.

For those who may be attending for the first time or are considering getting involved in the process in 2020, you may be asking yourself what exactly happens at the RPT convention and why it matters.

Before the state convention, which is held every two years, precinct conventions and county or senate district conventions were held in the Spring in which delegates were selected to go to San Antonio. Additionally, these conventions also sent resolutions, or suggestions for changes to the party’s platform.

Most of the important business in the first few days of the convention surrounds these resolutions.

The platform committee, as well as the legislative priority committee, will begin meeting on Monday to pore through resolutions and debate the merits of each. Eventually, the committee will filter down the resolutions into planks that are to be voted on by the entire convention body later in the week. Continuing the practice that began at the 2016 convention, delegates will have the opportunity to cast a vote on each plank with the use of electronically tabulated voting.

The end product by the end of the week should be a platform in which the body of grassroots that makes up the Republican Party will have voted on each plank to be added (or subtracted) from the platform.

Likewise, other committees will meet simultaneously throughout the week, including the rules committee. While at times it is drier than the platform committee, activists should pay attention to any potential changes that may strengthen or weaken rule 44, the party’s tool to censure Republican politicians who violate the party’s principles.

In addition to creating a platform and voting on rule changes, delegates also have an additional responsibility: voting on who will govern the party for the next two years.

Divided into 31 different caucuses by senate district, delegates will vote for RPT chairman, vice-Chairman, and one man and one woman to represent their district on the State Republican Executive Committee.

The vote for RPT chair (and vice-chair) will be largely constrained to the caucuses, although should the losing candidate win three senate districts, they will have the opportunity to request a floor vote with the entire convention body.

This year’s race pits current Chairman James Dickey against challenger Cindy Asche. While Texans for Fiscal Responsibility has not issued an endorsement in the race, both candidates were asked to fill out a questionnaire, and we have published their responses here.

Senate district caucuses will also vote for their SREC committeeman and committeewoman. The governing body of the RPT, the SREC meets several times a year to conduct the party’s business, such as organizing the convention, as well as passing resolutions, such as the one censuring Speaker Joe Straus earlier this year.

Again, TFR has not made endorsements in these races, but for the first time we have invited candidates to fill out a short questionnaire and have published their responses here.

Do you have any additional questions about the RPT convention? Send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll do our best to help answer them.

And if you are going to be in San Antonio this week, be sure to stop by our booth in the exhibit hall. You can’t miss it!

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Brandon Waltens

Brandon Waltens serves as the Capitol Bureau Chief for Empower Texans. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved to Empower Texans in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin.

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