Texas GOP leaders react to new president and sweeping policy proposals for the Lone Star State

Join Fox News to access this content

Plus special access to selected articles and other premium content with your account – for free.

By entering your email address and pressing Continue, you agree to the Fox News Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which includes our Financial Incentive Notice.

Please enter a valid email address.

To have problems? Click here.

The Republican Party of Texas (RPT) is set to release its official policy platform proposing sweeping reforms to the state, following a weekend of deliberations and the election of the state’s new president.

Fox News Digital spoke with several prominent Republicans across the state to get their thoughts on the new platform and new president.

Former Collin County GOP Chairman Abraham George received support from former Chairman Matt Rinaldi, Attorney General Ken Paxton and a number of state officials before defeating the party’s vice chairman Dana Myers in a six-man race.

“As we approach the November election, my goal is to work and ensure that we get more seats in the Texas House and Senate,” George told Fox News Digital. “We have Ted Cruz and Donald Trump on the ballot, those campaigns are very important to the RPT, and we are working on strategy, fundraising and execution.”

From left, Williamson County Republican Chair Michelle Taff Evans, State Rep. Caroline Harris Davila, Travis County Chair Matt Mackowiak and RPT Chairman Abraham George.

George takes the helm of a party that is deeply divided and relies on an increasingly narrow donor base — including a massive reliance on West Texas oil billionaires Tim Dunn and Farris Wilk, whose donations reportedly climbed to 25% of the party’s income. via $450,000 from Dunn’s Hexagon Partners LTD and $350,000 from Defend Texas Liberty Pac. In the April federal filing, the RPT reported income of $2.8 million since 2023, three-quarters of what the party previously collected in the 2019-2020 cycle.

Opposed by top Texas Republicans and Trump, House speaker survives GOP primary runoff challenge

“It doesn’t worry me, but I think my job as the new president is to expand that group to the next group of people,” George said. “I haven’t had a chance to speak honestly to these major donors, or any of the donors, but we are going to create financial committees where we can actually raise money across the state of Texas without relying on a or two people.

“However, big donors are still important to the party because they can bring in huge sums of money with just a phone call. But I don’t want us to be the party of a few individuals, but the party of the base. ”

In his speech to the convention, Texas Senator John Cornyn called for unity: “What we have achieved here in Texas is too important to waste fighting the battles of the past instead of hoping to win in November.” »

While there is still speculation about a Texas blue, George said he doesn’t see a threat from the left anytime soon.

It is.  John Cornyn

Senator John Cornyn arrives at a luncheon with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol on February 7, 2024 in Washington, DC (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“Honestly, I don’t see a huge threat,” George retorted. “The base is energized, there are more volunteers for the Republican Party than ever before. South Texas is coming our way, we’re starting to pick up seats in those areas and we’re going to work hand in hand with the county. ”

Several local party leaders and state officials felt the same way. Williamson County Chair Michelle Taff Evans told Fox News Digital, “The biggest threat to the Republican majority is complacency, both from elected officials and voters. I think the division in the RPT is most deeply felt by those who are losing control of the party, who see the base as a threat to their long-held power, and who fear populism. »

One of the most ambitious proposals in the new RPT platform is to close the primaries, allowing only Republicans to vote in Republican primaries. “I think closing the primaries was one of the most important political accomplishments of the Congress,” George said. “My job now is to move forward and ensure that. We are in conversation with legal counsel and I expect that to be the most important thing to happen over the next few months.”

Critics fear this could cede the RPT entirely to the party’s hard right. Moderate Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan recently won a landslide victory over Trump-backed Dave Covey in a runoff election. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick attributed Phelan’s victory to the open primary system, saying, “The only way Dade Phelan, who doubled down on his efforts to nominate Democratic presidents during his recent campaign, will be re-elected president is by a handful of a small minority of Republicans and an immense majority of Democrats. »

The most consequential proposal, however, comes in the form of a new constitutional amendment. The proposed amendment would require a state officeholder to win a majority in Texas in a similar Electoral College proposition. Given that the Republican Party relies on sparsely populated but numerous rural counties, this would make a statewide Democratic victory virtually impossible. Texas Governor Greg Abbott won 235 of 254 counties in 2022, although he only won the popular vote by +10%. Legal experts expect this to be challenged under the Voter Rights Act, although the platform also calls for repealing the Voting Rights Act.

“I think it’s great, they have eight [policy focuses] that they highlight. I will focus on school choice. I think we have a huge opportunity to do that,” state Rep. Caroline Harris Davila told Fox News Digital, speaking about aligning the platform with legislative priorities. “We want to be at the forefront of list for education in Texas, and if it’s public schools, great private schools, we need to make sure that parents have everything they can to give their children the best education possible. »

Caroline Harris at the Texas House

State Rep. Caroline Harris, R-Williamson, in the Texas House. (Caroline Harris for Texas)

TENNESSEE GOVERNOR JOINS GOP TREND OF CHECKING CANDIDATES ON SUPPORT FOR SCHOOL CHOICE: ‘SO IMPORTANT TO ME’

“The legislative priorities haven’t been released yet, but I think it’s going to be closing our borders and election integrity is going to be a major focus for us,” George said.

Not all Republicans are optimistic about the election results and the direction of the party. Travis County Chairman Matt Mackowiak, who ran for office against George, told Fox News Digital, “The RPT needs competent leadership for the first time in five years. I doubt we will succeed. The RPT must unify the party, register voters for the ballot. for the first time in years, raise $5 million as quickly as possible, support our targeted races, and win the election next year, they will work to advance the platform and legislative priorities.

“I think Republican voters are yearning for decisive action against federal incompetence when it comes to the borders and federal government overreach when it comes to our civil liberties,” Taff Evans said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“My advice to the next president is to always remember that the party must serve the people, not the politicians, and always uphold its principles,” former RPT President Matt Rinaldi told Fox News Digital.

#