Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri surprised his fellow state Republicans, not by his resignation, but by announcing that he was joining the staff of Kentucky Senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul (R-KY). Munisteri’s resignation has long been expected as he has said he would not be finishing his term months ago. The resignation will become effective after the State Republican Executive Committee’s (SREC) business meeting on March 7th.
In a conversation earlier this month with Breitbart Texas, Munisteri said he would formally resign at a SREC meeting. He said that would make it either March or June. At that time, Munisteri said he had not made any decision about his future plans.
“Today I informed the SREC that I will be stepping down on March 7th,” Munisteri said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “I have done so, in part, in order to accept the position of Senior Advisor to Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Senator Paul shares my vision of promoting the conservative values of individual freedom, limited government, a strong national defense, and defense of the Constitution in each and every community in our country.”
By all accounts, Munisteri has been an outstanding chairman of the state’s dominant political party. He took a nearly bankrupt state party and quickly moved it into the black. He has led highly successful statewide campaigns and helped stave off the attack from the liberal Battleground Texas campaign. The numbers of Republican elected officials have greatly increased under his leadership. The number of Texas counties with GOP Chairmen and active parties has increased. And, large numbers of Democrats have come to realize the Democrat party no longer represents their values and they changed party affiliation.
Munisteri has also been an effective leader in taking the Republican values message to minority communities and expanding the numbers of minority candidates and elected officials. “His vision for Texas will be hard to replace,” said one Republican at a meeting of the Houston Downtown Pachyderm Club where Munisteri spoke earlier this month.
“It has been my honor to serve as RPT Chairman since June 2010 and oversee our party’s efforts during the last three election cycles,” Munisteri said. “I am proud that by working together, we have had a net increase of 1,182 Republican officeholders during my time in office, representing an increase from 45% of all state officeholders to 67%. We have also set the all-time record for most number of elected Republican Texas State Representatives and Republican Texas Congressmen, as well as tying the record for most number of Republican State Senators.”
After the business meeting of the SREC, the committee will elect a new chairman to fill out the remainder of Munisteri’s term. That replacement will then have to stand for election on his or her own at the next Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. Currently there are four candidates to succeed Munisteri. Those are Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Wade Emmert, Republican Party of Texas Treasurer Tom Mechler, former Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill and Republican National Committee Committeeman Robin Armstrong.
At least two forums will be held between now and the election where the candidates will be able to express their vision for the state party. On Saturday, February 7th, the Republican Assemblies of Tarrant, Dallas and Denton Counties will host a forum at The Reserve in Euless, Texas. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and go through noon. It will be located at 101 W. Glade Road, Suite 102, Euless, Texas 76039.
On Wednesday, February 25th, the Clear Lake Area Republicans Club will host a debate and straw poll for the candidates. This event will be held at the University of Houston-Clear Lake being at 6:45 p.m. and will continue until 8:45 p.m. It will be held in the Bayou Building, Atrium 2 located at 2700 Bay Area Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77058.
Munisteri will join the team of Sen. Paul as a senior advisor, according to his statement. “Senator Paul also shares my belief that the Republican Party cannot expect to win a national race unless we attract younger voters and take our message aggressively to the Hispanic, African American, and Asian American communities,” he explained. “He shares my vision of doing so by actively engaging community leaders, traveling to nontraditional Republican communities, and making it clear that everyone that shares our beliefs are welcome in our party. Most importantly, he believes we can be effective in doing so without compromising our principles. I have known Senator Paul for well over 30 years and have found him to be one of the most intelligent, well-read, well-informed, and rational thinkers that I have ever encountered. I am honored to assist him in whatever his future endeavors may be.”
Sen. Paul is the son of former Texas Congressman and perennial presidential candidate Ron Paul. Having grown up in Texas and with his close connection to Ron Paul’s political contacts and volunteers, Paul will likely be a formidable candidate in the Texas Republican Primary. This race will feature four candidates with deep Texas roots. Those include former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rand Paul and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Munisteri closed out his statement by commenting on the financial condition of the state’s party. “At the same time, we paid off the party’s debt to $0 for the first time in 18 years and have remained debt free since November 2010 while bringing in over $22 million in revenue,” he stated. “This would not have been possible without the support of literally tens of thousands of grassroots activists and donors, for which I will be forever grateful. It has been the honor of my life to represent tens of millions of Texas Republicans and I wish our new Chairman well, whoever that may be, and plan to offer my support in whichever way I can help.”
Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.