The 2010 Texas Republican Convention

Kay Bailey Hutchison endorsing Rick Perry for governor at a Texas Federation of Republican Women breakfast.
Kay Bailey Hutchison endorsing Rick Perry for governor at a Texas Federation of Republican Women breakfast.

The day started with Kay Bailey Hutchison's official endorsement of Gov. Rick Perry. The gubernatorial primary rivals did a pretty effective job of political Kumbaya, joking and appearing relaxed, with all that nasty election talk behind them.

They appeared on stage together at a Texas Federation of Republican Women event and not at the convention itself.

Hutchison made the same amount of news announcing at the TFRW breakfast she'd have made announcing at the GOP convention, but avoided a crowd that has never warmed to her like it has to Perry and others. There's a bit of history on both sides. The TFRW has always been a source of political support for her. And she's had a contentious relationship with official Texas Republicans; in 1996, the party made an effort to keep her and George W. Bush from being seated with the delegation at the national party's convention. Perry's never had that trouble. On the floor of a Texas Republican Party convention, he's Elvis.

Hutchison cited a time crunch — she needed to catch a plane for the East Coast to make it to an event for Republican U.S. senators. But she got to make her announcement in front of her crowd, a friendly audience.

Liveblog

by Ross Ramsey
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is almost always late. At the TFRW event, they apparently didn't get the memo, introducing Dewhurst when he was supposed to be there and before he actually was. It might have gone unnoticed — it was a big and noisy ballroom, after all — but Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones was introduced a few moments later. Her opener? "I'm here! I'm always here!"
by Ross Ramsey
Hutchison didn't exactly confess to running a lousy primary campaign, but she came pretty close when she began to speak to the TFRW assembly. "I told you I wanted to be governor in the worst way," she said. "And I delivered."
by Ross Ramsey
GOP officials are all about absorbing the TEA Party. Speeches are sprinkled with references to TEA parties and "to other freedom and liberty loving people." It feels like someone handed out talking points to anyone talking to the media; with references like "anyone who feels like Washington has forgotten about us has a place in the Republican Party." The convention is longer than two days, but the meat of it is on Friday and Saturday. Friday's devoted mainly to state officials and state politics; Saturday to the federals (and to internal party business).
by Ross Ramsey
If you follow such things, the Republicans in Dallas are posting to twitter with this hashtag: #rpt10
by Ross Ramsey
Dewhurst, now speaking to the convention: "Remember, it took Jimmy Carter to bring us Ronald Reagan."
by Ross Ramsey
Perry's prepared remarks:


(Gov. Perry frequently deviates from prepared remarks)

I want to thank you all for being here today, in this gathering of people from all walks of life, from farms and small towns, from the suburbs and cities of our great state.

We gather in this place to make a simple statement, a statement of unity…in a singular purpose, as we continue the momentum that is carrying our values, our principals and our party to victory.

We may not all look alike, sound alike or even agree on every issue, but I know that we all share some elemental beliefs.

Like you, I believe in Texas.

I believe in a state that was carved out of the wilderness by rugged individualists, who sought opportunity, and the chance to live free.

I believe in a state that has endured under the flags of several nations, and forged a culture of independence unlike any other.

I believe in a state that has rebounded from wars fought within its boundaries, natural disasters like droughts and floods, oil busts and bursting tech bubbles, and emerged always stronger than before.

I believe in a culture of patriotism, service and sacrifice that has guided countless young Texans to distinguished military service, in the defense of freedom the world over.

I believe in a philosophy that encourages personal responsibility, and disdains the premise that government should do everything for everyone.

I believe in a people whose commitment to family, compassion for others and hope for a better day, compel them to connect in communities large and small, and help their neighbors in the worst of times.

I believe in a people who want nothing more than a job that demands and rewards their best effort…a safe neighborhood, and an education that propels their children beyond their own achievements.

This is our Texas…we are those people…and we have a noble calling to continue guiding our state.

As we hear the rumble of distant wars…natural disasters… and economic turmoil, Texas cannot retreat from its traditional position of leadership.

As Washington steadily encroaches on our freedoms, we must not be silenced by their criticisms, or intimidated by their threats of litigation.

Instead, we must continue to speak with the freedoms guaranteed us by the Constitution of this great country, and resist the unchecked growth of the federal government, as it barges into our doctor’s office, dips into our wallets and sets up shop in our classrooms.

Now, understand me clearly: the federal government has a purpose, and we’re gratified when it fulfills its essential roles.

However, we take offense at the unelected bureaucrats who conspire to derail our energy industry, while ignoring the environmental progress that we’ve made, by applying local solutions devised with government, business, and community leaders.

We resent being forced to purchase Washington’s healthcare option, which will drive doctors out of practice, and reduce access to healthcare across our state and nation.

If only the federal government would devote so much time and energy to its real responsibilities…like securing our border.

Instead, Texans have picked up their slack, spending hundreds of millions of Texas tax dollars over the past few years, directing sheriff’s deputies, game wardens, state troopers and citizen volunteers, into roles best filled by Border Patrol agents and the National Guard.

Imagine if the federal government would invest in genuine economic development, like cutting taxes, balancing the federal budget, and freeing entrepreneurs to innovate, manufacture, sell and hire.

Instead, they tighten the red tape with which they bind us, choking the life out of important industries, and laying waste the once-productive fields of our economy.

It is comical to hear this administration boast about job creation, when they simply took our tax dollars, and used them to hire more census workers.

Those are not the green shoots of economic growth, they are merely synthetic turf…Astroturf, with no hope of regeneration.

I wish that Washington would review the number of private-sector jobs we have created here in Texas…and consider our approach.

We strengthened our economy by following a few simple rules, that Washington is clearly unable to grasp, because they flow from our belief in the power of the individual…and embrace of fiscal discipline.

First, we don’t spend all the money…and we keep our taxes low.

Second, we keep our regulatory system predictable, so that employers don’t find themselves caught up short with unexpected changes.

Third, we reformed our legal system to cut down on over-suing, reducing the frivolous lawsuits that were leeching the life out of our economy, and reducing access to healthcare.

Fourth, we have continually improved the quality of education, by holding teachers and administrators accountable, and calling our students to a higher standard, as we build the workforce of tomorrow.

These precepts are beautiful in their simplicity, and their effectiveness.

They are the foundation of our success, which give Texans the chance to apply their legendary work ethic…and enjoy the results.

These principles encourage growth, attract investment and create private sector jobs, in ways that leave federal bureaucrats scratching their heads.

Unfortunately, too many Texans are still without jobs, as too many employers wait for the economy to rebound, so we cannot rest in our efforts to create yet more jobs.

New taxes stifle economic growth, so we need to safeguard our citizens with legislation requiring a 2/3 vote of the Legislature to raise taxes.

We need to protect the sanctity of the vote by requiring voters to verify that they really are who they say they are.

We need to take the tax cut we won for 40,000 small businesses, during the last Legislative session, and make it permanent.

We need to make higher education more accessible, by freezing a college student’s tuition rates for four years, at the level they pay as a freshman.

We need to keep improving the quality of public education, by doubling the number of STEM academies, so more students get the science, technology, engineering and math skills they need to compete in the global marketplace.

We need to strengthen the impact of our Ranger Recon Teams, and overall border security efforts, by pursuing criminal penalties for employers who knowingly violate employment laws, by hiring workers who are in Texas illegally.

Do you think a liberal Democrat would do that?

Unfortunately, the Democrat Party is pulling out all the stops, and calling in markers from across the country, as they try to topple conservative Republican leadership in Texas.

Given what EVERYONE knows about the Lone Star State, you’d think they’d find a candidate who embraces traditional Texas values, whose priority is job creation…who respects our military, and supports our Constitutional right to bear arms.

If you thought that, you would be wrong.

When it comes to the kind of cap & trade legislation that’ll decimate our energy industry, destroy jobs and raise the cost of living, my opponent not only supports it, he coached the Obama administration on how to sell it to America.

In a state where a balanced budget is not only expected, but required by our Constitution, he applied Washington-style budgeting to the city of Houston, borrowing from tomorrow to pay for today.

Leadership is not about sweeping problems under the rug for someone else to fix…it’s about making tough choices…the right choices.

He certainly didn’t make the right choice when he joined a national anti-gun group, that sought to limit the Second Amendment rights of Texans.

In a state with a military history as rich and colorful as ours, the home of heroes like Sam Houston, Audie Murphy, Freddy Gonzales and Marcus Luttrell, my opponent has supported lawsuits to limit the voting rights of service members…deployed in the defense of freedom.

All of these decisions make me want to ask a simple question.

Are liberals that blinded by their intellectual elitism, leftwing ideology and the worship of big government?

Texans of all political persuasions who are concerned about the egregious overreach of the federal government, need to understand something.

Electing my opponent will accelerate Washington’s takeover of our state.

Are you willing to accept that?

November 2nd is less than five months away…and it is my honor to accept your nomination for governor.
If you’re a conservative, and think you can sit this one out, think again.

If you’re a Republican, and think you can take a breather “because Texas always leans to the right,” guess again.

If you’re a Texan and think your vote doesn’t count, because it’s one of more than 13 million, reconsider.

We are engaged in a struggle for the very heart of this state, in a contest to determine the role of government in our lives, and continue our economic rebound.

The nation is watching Texas, to see if our model of state-based solutions, will triumph over the Democrat’s big-government movement that controls our nation’s capital…for now.

That’s why each and every vote counts, as does each and every phone call, email, Facebook post and tweet.

Our Party is not a monolith, a conformist block of rule followers who agree on every issue and vote in lockstep.
Go check out a Platform Committee meeting if you believe it is.

Our Party is a diverse collection of individuals from every walk of life and every corner of the state, with different dreams and aspirations.

Our Party is Gale Sayers from Converse, a home school mother and dedicated Church member.

Our Party is Ray Huebner from Dallas, a retired Marine who continues to serve our country by staying active in the political process.

Our Party is Naomi Narvaiz, a mother of five from San Marcos who is dedicated to serving her community.

Our Party is the best hope for the greatest state in the nation.

These folks up here represent a rising tide of conservative leaders, who have embraced the responsibility of leading a home headquarters, in their hometowns across Texas.

To ensure our victory in November, I need you to join them, and become a part of a rapidly-growing network, of thought leaders walking a new path to victory.

Simply stop by the Perry Pavilion on the exhibit floor to sign up, or take out your cellphone and text “FIRED UP” to 95613.

My team will not only use that number to let you know how to sign up, they’ll also keep you informed in the months to come, as we march toward victory in November.

Your support is not only vital for my campaign, it’s necessary for our entire slate of candidates.

We have an incredible group of Republican candidates on the ticket, from local races to folks seeking statewide office, like David Dewhurst…Greg Abbott…Susan Combs…Jerry Patterson…Todd Staples…and David Porter.

We have principled Republican leaders in Washington like Kay Hutchison and John Cornyn.

We have Party leaders like Cathie Adams, who led her team to put together this remarkable convention.

We all must understand that this next election is no mere academic exercise or a hobby to pass the time. It will determine the very fate of our nation.

So I ask you…will you stand up for what’s right?

Will you stand up for Texas values?

Will you stand up against Washington’s shameful excess?

Will you defend our children’s future with your vote?

Then let’s move forward together, and secure the future, and let’s keep our beloved state moving forward, with proven leadership and Texas values.

May God bless you and, through you, may He continue to bless the great state of Texas.

by Ross Ramsey
Dewhurst gets his biggest applause (so far) vowing that the Senate will again try to pass a Voter ID bill (which would require voters to produce a photo ID in order to cast a ballot). That's the issue that blew up at the end of the legislative session a year ago.
by Ross Ramsey
John Cornyn, who bombed two years ago with a video to the song "Big, Bad John" tries again (more successfully, too) with Johnny Be Good.
by Ross Ramsey
Plus, they (the Cornyn crew) don't have him in that fringed leather jacket this time.

Cornyn's opening line: "I have some good news to report. Congress is not in session today."
by Ross Ramsey
The old Cornyn video (Big, Bad John):

by Ross Ramsey
Comptroller Susan Combs is up. She's the only statewide incumbent without a Democratic opponent, and she's been tapped to run the "coordinated campaign" which raises money for GOP election efforts that aren't related to a particular candidate.
by Ross Ramsey
Attorney General Greg Abbott on the podium now. He says having a teenage daughter has given him new respect for the Second Amendment.

Another line: "A recession is when you lose your job. A recovery is when Barack Obama loses his job."
by Morgan Smith
Abbott says "I defended the 10 Commandments on the Capitol Grounds all the way to the Supreme Court" to great applause.
by Morgan Smith
Right now, Abbott says, he's defending the sovereignty of Texas against the "overreach of the EPA."
by Morgan Smith
Now we're moving on to Obamacare: "Democrats say the fight for healthcare is over. Well, let me be clear… the fight is not over. We are not moving on. The fight has only begun."
by Ben Philpott
Since Abbott was one of the first attorney's general to sign on to a lawsuit against the new federal healthcare bill. He wants the bill "repealed and replaced." Lots of cheers over this here in Dallas....oh and there was a "Don't Mess With Texas" sighting.
by Morgan Smith
Abbott strikes a personal note while addressing border security: "There's a false notion that defending the border is anti-Hispanic. My wife is a Latina, born in San Antonio... My Latina wife is offended" at the suggestion that enforcing immigration laws is "anti-Hispanic."
by Morgan Smith
States' rights are a huge theme in Abbott's speech: "Many Texans have lost jobs. But all Texans have lost their liberty to a federal government takeover."
by Ben Philpott
"Americans have had all the change they can handle." and another standing ovation. Abbott is now on stage with his wife -- waving to the crowd.
by Morgan Smith
While we're waiting for Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson to take the stage, some George Strait on the speakers: "Amarillo by Morning"
by Ben Philpott
Looks like they're about to parade out all current Texas House and Senate members. Announcer just asked for all of them to come back stage.
by Morgan Smith
Patterson's background music: Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down."
by Ben Philpott
I wonder if Patterson will bring up the BP oil spill at all...just because his office has been at the front of it so far.
by Ben Philpott
and the answer is yes -- he just said hello to 10-thousand like minded -- oil drilling people.
by Morgan Smith
Patterson's on stage now. "Texans don't back down" he says-- just like the song.
by Morgan Smith
Revisiting his past in the legislature, Patterson reminds the crowd he was the author of the Texas Concealed Handgun law: "The more of you are packing, the safer I feel here today"
by Morgan Smith
"We aren't backing down on offshore exploration on the Texas coast," Patterson says.
by Morgan Smith
In the middle of a culture war, Patterson says, SBOE did a "great job of writing curriculum....a great job of getting the PC stuff in."
by Morgan Smith
Patterson closes with a Churchill quote: "Never, never give up."
by Morgan Smith
An Old West-themed Todd Staples campaign ad debuting on screen, calling Staples' Democratic opponent Hank Gilbert a "villainous Obama Democrat" and urging voters to keep him "from hanging around any longer."
by Morgan Smith
Ag Commish Staples is up now. Gets the crowd going with a little Q&A:

"Do you feel the need to apologize that America is land of opportunity?" (NO!)
"Do you feel the need to apologize that our military dominant superpower in the world? (NO!) "Are you proud that we do things here in Texas differently than in Washington?" (YES!)
by Morgan Smith
Three minutes into speech, Staples has already, in separate instances, slammed both Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.
by Morgan Smith
A shout-out to the Tea Party: the media calls them "radical, racist, and uneducated to discredit them."
by Morgan Smith
Now, Staples is saying that Endangered Species Act lawsuits and EPA regulation of greenhouse gases threaten Texas' food supply.
by Morgan Smith
Staples is heading off stage now, with this final message: "If they think they can legislate away our freedoms...I just have one thing to say: Come and take it!"
by Morgan Smith
State Rep. Dan Branch, R-San Antonio, introducing Speaker of the House Joe Straus right now. There were some boos from the back of the room when Branch said Straus was "born in the shadow of the Alamo."
by Morgan Smith
More rowdy boos from the back when Branch says Straus is the leader we need "at the helm of the Texas House."
by Ross Ramsey
Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples used his time to take a first(?) swipe at Democrat Hank Gilbert, his general election foe. He's got a website aimed at "Guilty, Guilty Gilbert".

The video there was the opening for Staples' speech.
by Ben Philpott
Introducing all the candidates for legislative office now. Straus shook hands with the candidate running against Dripping Springs Democrat Patrick Rose -- even though Straus held a fundraiser for Rose.
by Ross Ramsey
Democrat Bill White's campaign didn't like Perry's speech. Go figure. Their reaction, from spokeswoman Katy Bacon:

Here's what career politician Rick Perry didn't mention today: the $18 billion budget hole, nearly doubling state spending and doubling state debt.

Even with an $18 billion budget hole, Perry refuses to stop draining taxpayers for a lavish rental mansion with a heated pool and one and a half chefs.
by Ben Philpott
and now it's the Senate's turn. Big cheers for everyone -- Dan Patrick get's the biggest.
by Ben Philpott
Now showing video -- highlighting the rainbow of colors that support the Republican party in Texas. While the Democrats have to deal with the idea of being "tax and spend liberals" -- the GOP always has to fight off the idea of being white and old.
by Ben Philpott
now a video on grassroots efforts in the party. The GOP has one heck of a grassroots machine. Video is now morphing into fundraising ad for the CRC(Candidate Resource Committee - they hand out money to help candidates)
by Morgan Smith
Now we're hearing from the candidates for RPT chairman. Current chair Cathie Adams is up first-- just walked on stage to Eye of the Tiger.
by Morgan Smith
Adams says "grassroots conservatives are the everlasting foundation of our party," adding she wants to "assemble the largest grassroots army ever recruited in the state."
by Morgan Smith
Adams is touting her work protecting private property, Second Amendment rights, and-- interestingly-- the election of judges.
by Morgan Smith
Now Adams is on to the hot topic of the RPT's debt. She says not going to defend "financial decisions" of previous administrations, and under her leadership, the party "will live within its means" and reduced its financial obligations by 41 percent.
by Morgan Smith
Adams wraps up her speech by saying she's not afraid to ruffle a few feathers to get the job done. "This is Texas, folks. Politics is a contact sport. If you want to be a leader in this party, you need to go hard or go home," she says, promising, "I will keep going hard every day I serve as your chairman."
by Ben Philpott
Steve Munisteri is up now. He's being introduced by two people -- the current head of the state Texas Young Conservatives (which he helped start) and State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg.
by Ben Philpott
He's pushing the constitution -- 2nd amendment rights. 10th amendment too -- and the "right to life." On the campaign trail -- he threw punches at Adams over the party's finances.
by Ben Philpott
He's attacking Obama too. I guess it's better to get the crowd behind him -- and then ask for their vote -- rather than just attack Adams. Even those voting for Adams can't sit on their hands when he talks about Obama the socialist and protecting the U.S. Border.
by Ben Philpott
"I want to give you the grassroots back the power." he says all the past party chairs have been picked by the party committee.

"I call on all you patriots to get rid of Obama and take back this party." Pretty good ovation at the end.
by Ben Philpott
state chair of the Republican party should NOT be a popularity contest. -- says unknown person introducing Tom Mechler.
by Morgan Smith
Mechler leads off talking about the debt, but says he doesn't want to get into an "R&R" — that's rant and rave — speech, so he's going to talk about what he knows about fixing it. That means getting the major donors back to the party and regaining the confidence of the grassroots.
by Morgan Smith
Mechler says the RPT needs to work harder at getting young people and "the minorities" involved. And he's frustrated with "all the divisiveness" within the party — it's time to stop fighting with each other, he says, and "go fight the Democrats."
by Ben Philpott
Come on Morgan you've covered this race -- tell us -- who's going to win?
by Ben Philpott
state vice chairman speeches up next...and people are starting to leave their seats.
by Morgan Smith
Ben: based solely on the energy of the unknown speaker introducing him, I'd say Mechler.
by Morgan Smith
But, I would say the favorite is Cathie Adams.
by Ben Philpott
Here's the websites for the Texas GOP Chair candidates.

Cathie Adams
Tom Mechler
Steve Munisteri
by Ben Philpott
Just had an "Academy Awards" moment with the last candidate for Vice-Chair - she was just about to wrap up -- when the music started -- and a woman in a sequined gown led her off stage (o.k. no gown - but the music did cut her off)
by Morgan Smith
Speechifying is now over. Cathie Adams back on stage, striking a gavel. Official convention business starting up.
by Ben Philpott
Just had a 15 minute debate(kind of) over seating one delegate. Party people do love their rules -- and like to argue about them.
by Ben Philpott
And we're out of here -- well for now.
by Ben Philpott
tune in later for more Blogging fun!!!
by Ross Ramsey
Here's a quote from Kay Bailey Hutchison, talking yesterday to the Texas Federation of Republican Women and taking what's going to be a remarkably tough position for the final day of the Texas GOP's state convention in Dallas: "Sometimes people's frustration lumps everyone who's worked in Congress as part of Washington. But our Republicans are fighting to stop big-government growth."

One motif of this convention is anti-Washington, anti-Obama, pro-state thread that shows up in appeals for support as well as in entreaties to the TEA Partiers who made such a splash in this year's GOP primaries.

And today is the day that members of the United States Congress — Republicans, and Texans, but still — take the stage. Oughta be interesting.

Also on the ticket for Saturday: A vote on who'll chair the Republican Party of Texas — a three-way contest between incumbent Cathie Adams and challengers Tom Mechler and Steve Munisteri; and a vote on the party's platform, possibly with immigration as a focal point.
by Ross Ramsey
Pictures at an Exhibition, from intrepid photographer Bob Daemmrich:

Rick Perry
Rick Perry



Debra Medina
Debra Medina



David Dewhurst
David Dewhurst



GOP delegate
Delegate Dean Higgenbotham of Round Rock



John Cornyn
John Cornyn



Cathie Adams
GOP Chair Cathie Adams



GOP bumper stickers
A table full of GOP bumper stickers

by Morgan Smith
The big convention hall is empty now — delegates are currently caucusing by district in different rooms around the center. We just had a sound check for the National Anthem.

There is a ton of Steve Munisteri signage around, and I've seen lots of people walking around with "STEVE" pins and stickers. I wonder if there will be a Cathie Adams upset today. Volunteers are currently placing signs on all the chairs in the hall (there's 14,000 of them):

XXTTTXTXTXT



A few people are still milling about the booths, too, like this woman who was having her picture taken with a life-size Sarah Palin:

XXTTTXTXTXT

by Morgan Smith
The tweets coming out of the caucus meetings (which are closed to reporters) indicate the race for chair is close, and getting feisty. Here's a sampling:

aggiehoss04: We should push for a computer vote. @cathieadams voters probably couldn't use one anyways. #rpt10

aggiehoss04: they are buying the smoke screen that only she is pro-life & steve is a muslim. It's despicable. #rpt10

SpunkyTrunk: I'm in SD8- Cathie's district. Believe it's going to be a fight btwn her peeps & @munisteri4rpt people. Gear it up! #rpt10

specialk_mom: #RPT10 mechler is spreading falsehoods... Rpt has an aggressive campaign for black & hispanic votes, um meet the txgop? Hello?

ChrisWPeterson: Looks like williamson county is split 3 ways.#rpt #rpt10 #txgop
by Ben Philpott
A Twitter Update!!! Looks like Cathie Adams has an unofficial lead in the race for GOP Chair.
------
@mqsullivan: My current tally: Adams now at 11 senatorial districts, mechler 5, munisteri 6. #rpt10
------
not sure if that includes Senate District 18 -- which a later tweet from another person said when for Munisteri.
by Ben Philpott
MQSullivan is Michael Quinn Sullivan from Empower Texans. and his tally did NOT include SD 18 -- so add one for Munisteri.
by Ben Philpott
Susan Combs' "Comb" that she's been handing out for years as a campaign tool may have lost the title of "most awesome campaign swag." Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is handing out "Christmas Mountains Stress Relievers." These little squeezable mountains as he said, "...are great for exercising your trigger finger." And in my opinion -- the new "most awesome campaign swag" title holder.

XXTTTXTXTXT

by Morgan Smith
More tweets coming out of one of the caucus meetings, where in a few districts, chairman voting has run into a few snafus:

@RobSchlein: I'm glad my bladder is holding up. 4hours locked up in sd8 with this vote. #rpt10

@mjsamuelson: #sd14 voting for chairman weighed down by procedure. Rules need to deal with this. #RPT10 #TX2010RPT

@HiMaintnceLady I wish people would just keep their opinions to themselves at this point in the convention. #RPT10
by Morgan Smith
Yeah, that first sentence should read — More tweets coming out of the caucus meetings, where in a few districts, chairman voting has run into snafus:
by Morgan Smith
The 2010 RPT platform has dropped. As expected, there's dissension in the ranks over the immigration plank. The majority position, which delegates still need to vote to ratify this afternoon, calls for:

· An end to "catch and release" policy
· Criminal penalties and aggressive enforcement for those who knowingly employ illegal workers
· Expeditious hearings on deporting non-violent illegal immigrants
· Amending the constitution to suspend automatic U.S. citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants
· Empowering state and local law enforcement agencies to detain illegal immigrants
· Eliminating laws requiring hospitals to give non-emergency care to "illegal's"
· Requiring E-verify system to confirm legal status of all new hires

The minority report, signed by 11 of the 64 SREC members (that's 62 from the senate districts and 2 national committeemen), states:

"We have never supported and oppose a policy of mass deportation. We support a realistic solution which permanently secures our borders and humanely resolves the legal status of illegal immigrants. We recognize that many illegal immigrants were brought to this country as minors."


by Ross Ramsey
Talking to Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson at his camouflaged convention booth and a guy walked up, chatted for a minute about feral hogs (seriously, and with an analogy to the federal government), and then asked Patterson to sign his concealed handgun license. Patterson, who as a state senator authored the concealed handgun bill, did it. But he said that might be against the law, so he also told his new friend how to get his signature off.

Jerry Patterson booth


by Ross Ramsey
The GOP introduced it's "all Republican Railroad Commissioners," and out walked Elizabeth Ames Jones, Michael Williams, and ... David Porter. He's not a Railroad Commissioner, but he beat incumbent Republican Victor Carrillo in the primary. And although Carrillo is still in office, Porter was the man on stage with the other two commissioners at the convention.
by Ross Ramsey
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the headliner today, is on the stage.
by Ross Ramsey
Barbour: We can't afford to wait until 2012 to start taking our country back.
by Ross Ramsey
Barbour: The Democrats want campaigns to be about emotions. We want campaigns to be about issues ... Your family can't spend itself rich, and the government can't spend itself rich, either.
by Ross Ramsey
Barbour: The national Democratic Party has targeted Texas to win back control of the Texas House of Representatives... don't take anything for granted. Don't take anybody for granted.
by Ross Ramsey
Barbour: There's nothing the left needs more than a split conservative vote ... it's so critical that the TEA Party people be part of our party ... it's your duty not only to make them feel welcome. It's your duty to put them to work.
by Ross Ramsey
HUMBLE PIE ALERT: Morgan wrote that there are 64 people on the State Republican Executive Committee, and that's right. And she asked me how it was composed, and I booted it. The correct answer (blame me, not Ms. Smith) is 62 people elected two-by-two from the state's 31 Senate districts and the state party chair and vice chair. Sorry, sorry, sorry.
by Ross Ramsey
Barbour: This election is one where the stakes are higher than any midterm election in my lifetime, and I was chairman of this party in 1994 ... The stakes of this election are higher than 1994, because the direction that this president and this Congress are trying to take our country will be hard to reverse if it goes on very long.
by Ross Ramsey
Barbour: The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing ... Here's the main thing: Winning. Winning matters.
by Morgan Smith
Word coming out of the nominations committee is that Steve Munisteri has their nod for the party chairmanship.
by Morgan Smith
However, Cathie Adams can still request a floor vote. The unofficial tallies from the 31 Senate Districts have Munisteri leading 22 to nine.
by Morgan Smith
There's a proposed platform resolution circulating from the "Prosper Tea Party" — they're out of Prosper, Texas — to "remove and replace" Speaker of the House Joe Straus. The complaints listed:

· Straus' vote to increase the budget by 19 percent
· the fundraisers for Patrick Rose, Jason Isaac, and Trey Martinez Fisher
· an $1000 donation from Planned Parenthood, and a vote for SB 419, "which would have made it easier to perform late-term, third-trimester abortions"
· the gambling issue (Straus' family owns racetracks)

The Statesman attributes

the document to David Barton, the former RPT vice chairman and current WallBuilders activist.
by Morgan Smith
There's buzzing that Adams, despite the significant lead Munisteri holds in the district votes, will indeed request a floor vote. Nothing confirmed yet.
by Morgan Smith
Cathie Adams is now on stage, calling the general session to order.
by Ben Philpott
Quick reminder -- if what we're hearing is true -- this will be the first time a sitting chair has NOT won re-election.
by Morgan Smith
Steve Munisteri is now the new chairman of the RPT, the nominations committee chair has just announced.
by Morgan Smith
Wait-- he just announced that he has the nomination, not the chairmanship.
by Ross Ramsey
Steve Munisteri got more votes for chairman of the Republican Party of Texas in the caucuses. He and Adams get to talk to the convention now. Tom Mechler, the third candidate, dropped out after the caucus votes.

Steve Munisteri


by Ben Philpott
Possibly a new Texas GOP Chair -- AND the U.S. ties England -- all on the same day!!
by Morgan Smith
The first caucus vote had Adams with 12 districts, Mechler with six, and Munisteri with 13. Since no candidate had a majority, there was a second vote between just Adams and Munisteri, the top finishers. That came down to 22 for Munisteri and nine for Adams.
by Ross Ramsey
Another great Bob Daemmrich shot of Munisteri:

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by Morgan Smith
Vice-chair Robin Armstrong presenting remarks on behalf of Cathie Adams. Will it be a concession?
by Morgan Smith
Nope — doesn't look like it. Armstrong:"We have a fight on our hands...it is about whether we will go down the road of moderation. About whether we will water down our conservative beliefs when the country is getting more conservative."
by Ross Ramsey
Daemmrich's shot of Tom Mechler, who finished third in the caucuses and didn't take his campaign to the floor where all the delegates could vote.

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by Morgan Smith
An emotional Adams is on stage again now: "Are we ready to fight for what is right?!"
by Morgan Smith
Finishing up, Adams says: "We love doing this work. 24/7 politics is making my day." Loud applause and many delegates standing in the crowd as she leaves the stage.
by Morgan Smith
Tom Mechler has apparently thrown his support behind Munisteri. He's on stage touting him right now.
by Ross Ramsey
RPT Chairwoman Cathie Adams in a Daemmrich shot from the first general session of hte GOP's state convention.

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by Morgan Smith
Mechler: "this is a very very critical election for state chairman ... The most important in the past 14-16 years, because our party has got to correct course."

He just removed his own sticker from his lapel, and replaced it with a Munisteri sticker, and asked his supporters in the crowd to do the same.
by Morgan Smith
Munisteri is now on stage emphasizing his social conservative bonafides for an enthusiastic crowd.
by Morgan Smith
Munisteri exits stage left with a plea for unity: "Whether Cathie Adams or myself is elected, we have to come together...our differences are insignificant compared to the duty we have to our country...No matter who wins the chairmanship, we will be behind the winner."

The Convention Secretary has just called a floor vote for the chairmanship. Votes, she says to grumbling from the crowd, will be requested in 10 minutes.
by Ross Ramsey
Your announcer — Bill Melton, a former Dallas County official with a fantastic voice who handles the talking at every GOP convention — can't remember a floor vote for chairman. Neither can I (but he's been to more of these than I have). Given the way parliamentary rules work at this things, it'll certainly be arcane, weird, and maybe, interesting.
by Morgan Smith
Confusion over whether delegates are voting by county or senatorial district (the Convention Secretary said it's by county) is causing some delay in reporting votes.
by Morgan Smith
We're hearing the districts report their votes now. Munisteri appears to have a hefty lead, but he's not winning all of them.
by Ben Philpott
Just about done -- going over districts that weren't ready to vote first time around. It looks like Munisteri has a nice lead.
by Ben Philpott
The party is taking a break to tabulate the results...but it looks like Munisteri will be the new chair.
by Morgan Smith
The official results are in:

Adams — 2950.9

MunisterI — 4294.11

That means the RPT has a new chairman.
by Morgan Smith
TWIST! Cathie Adams has just been nominated for vice-chair.
by Morgan Smith
After some parliamentary back and forth, it's clear there was a push for Cathie Adams to become vice-chair. But Adams quashed that herself, officially saying she wouldn't consent to the nomination.
by Morgan Smith
And now we have a vice-chair: Melinda Fredericks. She originally ran on Tom Mechler's ticket.

RPT bylaws require the chair and vice-chair to be a man and a woman, so once Adams lost that meant current vice-chair Robin Armstrong was out.
by Morgan Smith
It's time for your last remaining live blogger to ride off into the sunset. Tune in later for our autopsy of the chair race and an update on the platform fight over immigration.
by Ben Philpott
just had first mention of resolution to remove Speaker Straus. It was tabled for now -- not time for that debate. Still working on Party platform.
by Ben Philpott
Debate continuing on Party Platform. One attempt to end all debate was defeated. Resolution against Speaker Straus still waiting in the wings.
by Ben Philpott
currently going over motion to substitute 2008 platform for the 2010 platform. And that was one heck of a loud "NO" when they finally voted on that motion.
by Ben Philpott
Party Platform has been adopted. WIll resolution to get rid of Speaker Straus come back up....NO -- they just closed the convention.
by Ben Philpott
Time to pack up and head home. See y'all in Corpus Christi for the Democratic Convention.

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