The leader of the American Conservative Union told Breitbart News he is supporting Rep. Roger Williams (R.-Texas) to be the next leader of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the political wing for House Republicans.
“The American Conservative Union feels it is very important that the leadership table includes conservatives. Roger Williams, in our opinion is one of the leading conservatives in Congress–having him around that leadership table will be very important–having someone around that leadership table, who has never wavered in his support for our nominee Donald Trump is very important,” said Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the ACU.
Schlapp said Williams has a rating with the American Conservative Union of 100 percent in 2014 and 96 percent in 2015.
The Texas congressman is running against Ohio’s Rep. Steve Stivers, whose 2014 and 2015 scores were 63 and 54, respectively. Stivers is the deputy chairman of the NRCC and an ally of the current outgoing chairman, Oregon’s Rep. Greg Walden.
“If you look at the two sets of scores, you can see why it is an open and shut case for ACU,” he said.
“Roger has a much, much better record,” Schlapp said.
“I’ve known Roger Williams for 16 years,” said Schlapp, who met Williams when the two men worked to elect Texas Gov. George W. Bush president in 2000. At the time, Williams was a key fundraiser for the Bush campaign, a role he played in the Bush’s 1994 and 1998 runs for governor and in President Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign.
Schlapp said he developed a strong bond with Williams, when the former minor league pitcher was the Texas secretary of state ramping up for a Senate run in 2012. Williams instead ran for Congress where he represents a north-south drawn district between Austin and Fort Worth.
It is important to appreciate that Williams was an early and unwavering supporter of President-elect Donald J. Trump, Schlapp added.
“I talked to Roger early about Trump and when it looked like he was going to get the nomination and he never wavered,” he said. “Even though, he has friendships with the Bush family, and others, too.”
The whole way, when others were not solid, Williams was solid, he said.
“I’ve never regretted stepping forward for Roger,” he said. “He’s a campaign pro, who’s run for office himself, as everyone up for NRCC has, but he has been around the operations of campaigns for decades and he has been at the side of the people, who write the big checks, who raise the big checks.”
There is a tendency with politicians to hand over control of a campaign to the professionals, Schlapp continued. “But, in Roger’s case, he has an understanding of how the money ‘should’ be spent and I think he has a very innovative plan to change the way the NRCC has always done business.”
The NRCC has not kept up with the way campaigns and campaign communication are handled in today’s politics.
“The Trump victory shows us that many Republican operatives are playing from a playbook that is a generation old and ineffective,” Schlapp said. “Roger is open to the idea that politics is not a stagnant operation.”
Schlapp said he likes that Williams promised to keep the NRCC out of primaries. In the past, the NRCC has put its thumb on the scale for candidates in the primaries, who end up being less conservative.
“I have been involved in these conversations through the cycles–should they be involved? should they not be involved?–the problem with the NRCC is that they fall in love with self-funded candidates, who more often than not tend to be philosophically much softer–they love self-funders because they have to spend less.”
The job of a national party’s committee is to pull people together and make sure the best candidates are supported, but when a committee tied to the national party, like the NRCC, plays in a primary, it creates bitterness and alienation, he said.
“The NRCC’s job is not to be the leading voice on ideology, but that can be so abused and I have seen past chairmen, where they almost always get involved in primaries to help the candidate that represents the quote-unquote business interests–right? and which is usually the euphemism for being a moderate.”
It is okay that the GOP is a party of moderates and conservatives, he said.
“But, the heart and soul of the party is the conservative activists,” he said. “When the party doesn’t stand for that the party starts to have big trouble and I think Roger understands that very well–yes, we want Republicans from all over the country, and that means cities and towns and rural areas–but, the heart and soul of the party should never be changed and the heart and soul really spoke up in the last election.”
Williams knows what he knows and like Trump he is full of energy, Schlapp said.
“Roger never stops, that is why he is so successful in business, that’s why he has so many friends, it’s why he is such a good fundraiser,” he concluded.