Exclusive Interview: Tom Mechler Takes the Helm of America’s Largest Republican Party

Bob Price - BBTX ProfileAUSTIN, Texas – Shortly after being elected as chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, Tom Mechler paused for a moment to talk with Breitbart Texas about his vision for Texas politics and the daunting task of filling the Texas sized shoes of outgoing chairman Steve Munisteri. Mechler discussed building on the successes of the party in minority engagement, party unity, fundraising, and the importance of youth in the Republican Party. He also discussed the party’s new rules for selecting presidential delegates at the 2016 Republican Party State Convention.

Mechler was elected on Saturday afternoon in the second round of voting by members of the State Republican Executive Committee, as Breitbart Texas reported. He will serve out the remaining term of Chairman Munisteri, who resigned after nearly five years of service. Munisteri will now become an advisor for aspiring presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).

The new chairman praised the leadership team assembled by his predecessor. “I’ve spoken with all of the officers and all of the senior staff members of the party and I’ve asked them if ‘if I win’ would they be willing to continue,” he said, “and they’ve all agreed to do that. When you have somebody that’s been as successful as Steve has been, there’s going to be some transition.”

Mechler served as the Party Treasurer under Munisteri. He said there won’t be as much transition as one might expect because the team is already working together. “The things that we really do well,” he explained, “we will continue to do well and the things we can improve on, the situation is set to where we can move forward.”

Minority engagement was a priority of the party from day one for Chairman Munisteri. Mechler pledged to continue that emphasis and even expand on it. “The party itself has done a lot of great work on this,” Mechler stated. “We have connected very well with our party’s auxiliaries, but there are some groups that have a passion also for minority engagement that are Republican groups that are not working with the party. I hope to see us making better inroads to working with them as a team.” Mechler created a task force on Saturday to address this issue.

After a long campaign and Saturday’s vote for the new chairman, Mechler said he hoped that all sides within the party will now work together towards common goals. All of the candidates for party chair pledged to support the winner of the election during a forum held Friday night. He called his, now former opponents men of integrity and faith. “We’ve got to come with unity,” the Chairman said. “It’s so important. The Republican Party has quite a bit of diversity and the way we work with kind of diversity is to make sure that everybody feels valued, that their opinion matters, and they have a right to express it.”

The new Chairman said he looks forward to working with the Texas Legislature which is currently in session. “I don’t believe in standing over them with a baseball bat,” Mechler said. He explained that he will continue to foster a good relationship with the legislators.

“We want to have your back when you help us,” he explained. “If you do things that we would like for you to do, we’re going to be there for you. They’re going to know that we’re part of that team, with them.”

Chairman Mechler talked about the importance of fostering leadership among the young Republicans who are working hard for the party already. He said that when he is older, he wants to not be as involved in politics as he is today. “For that to be possible,” he explained, “we have to pour tremendous resources into our young people. The next generation, as we train them up…They’re the ones that are going to take our place. The party will make whatever investment is necessary to make them feel like they are an important part of the process.”

Mechler explained the new party rules regarding the election of presidential delegates at the 2016 Republican State Convention which will be held one year from May. A new procedure will be in place that will award twenty-five percent of the Texas delegates based upon the outcome of a straw poll that will be held at the convention. The remaining seventy-five percent will be elected by the convention caucuses and pledged based upon the outcome of the Texas Republican Primary. Mechler explained what has become known as the “Texas Two-Step.”

“The concern that the party has had for a long time is that very small states have an exaggerated influence in picking the presidential candidate,” he said. “We have 155 delegates at the national convention. We believe that Texas, being the reddest of all the red states, should have a greater say.”

“This whole process,” he concluded, “the purpose of it was to create a situation where we can have more influence on the outcome.”

During his acceptance remarks after becoming chairman, Mechler praised his predecessor and emphasized the importance of Munisteri’s minority engagement efforts. “We’ve said it and we’ve said it and we’ve said it for decades” that outreach is important, said Mechler, and Munisteri finally did something besides just talking about it. “I just want to applaud you again,” Mechler said, as the rest of the room joined in his salute to their former Chairman.  “Without any question, you’ll be remembered as a man of great vision.”

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 and on Facebook.


Comment count on this article reflects comments made on Breitbart.com and Facebook. Visit Breitbart's Facebook Page.