State Republican leaders selected Texas Republican Party treasurer Tom Mechler as the party’s new chairman Saturday, replacing Steve Munisteri, who is leaving to join U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's likely 2016 presidential campaign.
After two rounds of secret ballot voting, members of the State Republican Executive Committee picked Mechler over three other candidates: Republican National Committeeman Robin Armstrong, Dallas County GOP Chairman Wade Emmert and Jared Woodfill, former chairman of the Harris County Republican Party.
Mechler, a former Gray County Republican Party chairman, will serve as interim chairman until delegates to the state convention settle on a permanent replacement for Munisteri next May. The 14-month period promises to entail intensive fundraising for the convention and positioning the party for a 2016 presidential race that could feature several Republicans with Texas ties.
Mechler campaigned as the most trusted steward of the party’s finances in the post-Munisteri era, an argument that resonated with many members of the executive committee who recalled how the Texas GOP was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt just a few years ago.
Munisteri is widely credited with restoring the party’s fiscal health and guiding it to resounding victories across the state last November, despite a high-profile push by Democrats to make the elections more competitive.