Tribpedia: Republican Party Of Texas

The Republican Party of Texas is the state branch of the Republican Party, generally considered to be center-right on the political spectrum. It is one of the two major political parties in Texas, the other being the Texas Democratic Party. The party raises money, organizes events, and campaigns for Republican candidates.

In addition to being the majority in the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate, the Republican party currently holds every major statewide office.

From the Handbook of Texas Online, a publication of the Texas State Historical Association:
The Republican Party of Texas originated in the spring of 1867, as Texans responded to the Congressional Reconstruction Act, passed on March 7. That act required the former Confederate states to fashion new governments and extend the elective franchise to all adult males without regard to race, color or previous condition of servitude. The law radically altered the struggle for political power in Texas and the rest of the South by integrating African Americans into the political process. The state's Republicans embraced these Congressional demands and pursued the development of a biracial party. Their efforts led to the party's formal organization and the first state convention at Houston on July 4. Republican leadership came primarily from among antebellum and wartime Texas Unionists, many of whom were supporters of Sam Houston (these were called scalawags by their opponents), recent immigrants from the North (called carpetbaggers) and newly enfranchised blacks. The Unionists dominated the proceedings. Former governor Elisha M. Pease chaired the convention, and Col. John L. Haynes, the popular commander of the First Texas Cavalry, USA, became the party's first executive-committee chairman. In its first platform, the party advanced an appeal based on loyalty to the Union and the interests of race and class. The platform endorsed the national Republican Party and Congressional Reconstruction, demanding the removal of all civil officials who had participated in the rebellion or who opposed the policies of Congress. Pursuing black and poor white voters, the convention called for a homestead law that would appropriate parts of the public domain to settlers without regard to race, and for a public school system for all the children of the state.

The election of 1978 marked a new era in the party's history, in which its growing strength took on a more permanent character. After years of Democratic domination, state elections were even fights. In that year, William P. Clements, promising to reduce taxes and cut the size of the state government, became the first Republican governor since Reconstruction. He was defeated in 1982 but regained the governor's seat in 1986. In statewide elections Republicans were consistently successful. Phil Gramm held on to John Tower's Senate seat after the latter's retirement in 1984. Republican presidential candidates won regularly, while Kay Bailey Hutchison secured the second United States Senate seat in 1993 and George W. Bush won the governorship in 1994. In congressional elections, Republican seats in the House of Representatives climbed from three to nine out of 30. These votes showed not only increasing strength for the party, but also appear to have marked a fundamental shift in voter loyalties. In the 1982 Republican primary, the number of participants increased over the 1978 total from 158,403 to 265,851. This spurt began a steady growth leading to the 1992 primary, in which nearly a million voters participated. At the same time, Democratic primary participation decreased from 1.8 million to 1.5 million. This grass-roots support of the Republican party showed up particularly in the growing number of Republicans elected to the state Legislature. By 1992, 59 of 150 House members and 13 of 31 senators were Republicans. At the beginning of the 1990s, some analysts concluded that Texas had not only developed a vigorous two-party system but that the state also had become primarily Republican. After 100 years as a minority party, the Republicans had become the majority.

Images

State Representative J.M. Lozano (center) shakes hands with Attorney General Greg Abbott as he announces that he's switching to the Republican Party during a press conference Thursday, March 18, 2012.
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