Thousands of delegates gathered Thursday through Saturday at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas for the biennial convention of the Republican Party of Texas. It did not turn out to be, as many hoped, a “home-state pit stop in Ted Cruz's battle to the end against Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination.” Cruz’s bid came to an end in Indiana, but there was plenty of business for the party to take care of in the nation’s biggest red state. And the delegates got to hear from Cruz himself, along with a roster of other statewide officials.
After the opening pledges of allegiance and some welcoming remarks from state party officials, the opening round of speeches began with Gov. Greg Abbott, who laid out his accomplishments as governor and state attorney general.
The convention also marked the beginning of a book tour for Gov. Abbott. “Broken but Unbowed” mixes details of the accident that paralyzed him, his many lawsuits against the federal government and his call for state-initiated amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was up next with his opening-day speech. The “bathroom wars” were still very much on his mind after his high-profile press conference before a Fort Worth school board meeting denouncing that school district’s rules for transgender students and calling for the superintendent’s resignation.
Speeches from state GOP luminaries continued throughout the day.
Friday was a key day of business at the convention, but it began with another press conference held by Patrick. Late Thursday, the New York Times reported that President Obama was planning an executive order requiring public schools to accommodate its transgendered children, raising the stakes dramatically.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas gave Friday’s keynote speech.
The actual business of the convention — nailing together a platform, electing party officials, selecting delegates — brought Republicans from all over the state to Dallas.
Saturday — the last day for delegates, but not for party workers and vendors left to clean up and tear down on Sunday — saw convention business concluded, along with more speeches, including Cruz’s, perhaps the most anticipated of the weekend.