The day after he body-slammed and punched a reporter for the Guardian, breaking his glasses and physicalizing Trumpian contempt for the media, Greg Gianforte was elected to Congress from Montana.
Well, clearly Gianforte had the coolest name on the ballot. Never underestimate that.
Gianoforte is so musical, so romantic. Meanwhile, Quist Wicks sounds like a new treat from the Frito-Lay snack lab.
In declaring victory, Gianforte apologized for assaulting a seemingly mild-mannered reporter.
I am glad.
I am a reporter. I am mild-mannered. I wear glasses. I don’t want to be body slammed and punched doing my job.
But apparently Gianforte either doesn’t watch Infowars, or, amid all that is going on in his life, missed yesterday’s episode in which Alex Jones and Mike Cernovich explained why Gianforte had nothing to apologize for, that he was set up.
Courtesy Media Matters for America.
MIKE CERNOVICH: That is why every national reporter in the world went to Montana. Who cares about some race in Montana, right? But they’re all there trying to set people up, putting recorders in your face, getting in your face, badgering you —
ALEX JONES (HOST): I was about to say that’s what they did to Trump and [Corey] Lewandowski. He comes in the room, screams at him, puts a camera in his face. He tries to grab the phone, the guy grabs his arm, he throws him to the ground. That guy touched him. That guy assaulted him. You grab somebody’s wrist you are trying to take control of them.
CERNOVICH: Exactly — that’s what they do. They’re setting everybody up now. And it was a total set up to try to swing a race for the Democrats because they lost all four special elections so what they do now is they send people and they go, “Hey, hey, man, hey.” And they shove it in your face and sometimes, as you know, it hits you. They have bad breath. They’ll breath in your face and there is spittle coming out of their mouth. These media people, a lot of them are just really bad, poor hygiene, they don’t take care of themselves.
JONES: These are the lowest scum of the earth that know they’re liars. They’re not even paid until they get a big story, so they’re mercenaries, they’re bounty hunters.
CERNOVICH: Right, and Ben Jacobs was actually a former Democrat operative. And by the way, none of these people — as you know if you wear a Trump hat in public,somebody might try to murder you. The media never cared about that kind of violence. But suddenly one of them is maybe pushed to the ground a little bit in self-defense and now it’s the number one story in the world and of course Paul Ryan is saying that he must apologize —
JONES: Oh yeah, this Republican when some guy grabs his arm throwing him to the ground in his own office, he’s worse than the Manchester 22 dead kids, 50 plus injured, and it doesn’t matter that we’ve got Ariana Grande saying, quote, she hopes her fans f-ing die.
Ay yi yi.
As to the assertions that reporters have bad breath, spittle on their face, and are not even paid until they get a big story, I can attest that I get paid whether or not I get a big story. Every two weeks.
Anyway, I think it’s as well that Gianforte sought to calm the waters last night with what seemed a heartfelt apology for behavior that had one wondering whether he might have OD’d on the Caveman True Paleo Jones sells and swears and screams by.
Anyway, almost precisely as the Gianforte story entered a new, more sane and sedate phase, out of the blue of the night sky came news from Austin that one of the most eccentric figures in Republican Party politics of the last couple of years, was back.
For those somehow unfamiliar with the politics of Robert Morrow, here are what on his blog he describes as A few of the many qualifications I have for being Chairman of the Texas Republican Party.
If you have a short attention span, skip past the murder and mayhem to the bottom and qualification 13.
1) I am a political truth teller.
2) In the past 20 years I have voted in more Texas Republican primaries than Rick Perry.
3) I am a Ron Paul supporter.
4) In 2004, I played a critical grassroots role in getting Republican Rep. Todd Baxter re-elected to the State House. Just ask Todd Baxter. This is the state rep seat that Donna Howard currently holds.
5) In both 2008 and 2012 I was one of the leaders of Ron Paul for President in Austin, TX.
6) Unlike George Herbert Walker Bush, I have not murdered anyone, as he did with Barry Seal in 1986.
7) Unlike cocaine addict and CIA drug smuggler Bill Clinton I do not think that Barry Seal got what he had coming to him. Barry Seal was a friend of Bill Clinton which tells you a lot about Bill “Serial Rapist” Clinton.
8) Unlike George Herbert Walker Bush, I am not a homosexual pedophile who molests and has sex with young boys. Read the books The Franklin Cover Up and The Franklin Scandal for information on that. Former Texas GOP chair Cathie Adams knows all about the Franklin Cover Up and I have discussed it with her.
9) My top priority is the impeachment and removal from office of child molester, business criminal, serial adulterer, golf cheat and political criminal Donald Trump. Message to Trump supporters: you sleep with dogs you will get fleas.
10) I am very proud of my book The Clintons’ War on Women which rips the hide off the Clintons like no other book has done before. This is one of the few books child rapist Donald Trump has read and he kept it on his desk in 2016.
11) In 2016 I received 145 votes for President of the United States.
12) I am the Chairman Emeritus of the Travis County Republican Party, gaining it world attention as I ran it from June 13 to August 19, 2016.
13) I like big titties. I am a proponent of boobyliciousness. In the past several years I have shared on social media the pics of over 500 extremely hot, busty women. What have Rick Figueroa and James Dickey ever done to promote boobyliciousness, bikini contests and wet t-shirt contests? I am for having bikini contests at the Alamo every 4th of July. Case closed.
Morrow’s candidacy is good news for the likes of Rachel Maddow (and maybe me, though I’m not sure), who loved the Robert Morrow story, ever since he was elected Travis County Republican Party chairman in the March 1, 2016 Republican primary.
Morrow defeated the incumbent Travis Country Republican Chairman James Dickey, mostly, it appeared, because his name appeared above Dickey’s on the ballot, and because voters apparently preferred the name Morrow, to the name Dickey.
Morrow’s election put the Travis County Republican Party and James Dickey through the ringer, until the party figured out a way to remove him.
From my story last August:
Robert Morrow’s short, weird and nationally famous tenure as Travis County Republican Party chairman is over.
Unsurprisingly, the end was accompanied by a farcical moment as Morrow tried to crash Friday morning’s press conference by party officials who were eager to announce that he was out as chairman, only to be thrown out of the room.
As he was being escorted away, Morrow said he agreed that his recently launched write-in candidacy for president had, under state election law, disqualified him from continuing to serve as county party chairman.
“Their interpretation of election law is correct,” Morrow, in the colorful jester cap he’s often worn since becoming chairman at the end of June, called out in answer to a reporter’s question.
Morrow was elected chairman during the March 1 state primary, generating national headlines because of his unorthodox views on almost everything, which he tweeted with unabashed enthusiasm. It lasted scarcely two months, but Morrow’s leadership seemed an eternity for party officials who found him a perpetual embarrassment and who had been looking for some way, any way, to remove him from office.
Morrow handed officials what they wanted when he filed paperwork with the secretary of state’s office a week ago to be certified as a write-in candidate for president.
Under state election law, a party chairman cannot run for public office unless it’s for another party position, and so, as soon as Morrow filed his declaration of candidacy, he was out.
In September, Dickey reclaimed the chairmanship of the Travis County Republican Party in a contest in which he defeated Brendan Steinhauser, who, unlike Dickey – who had opposed Trump as a disaster for the party before the convention – said he would not be voting for Trump for president.
In March, a year after his electoral debacle, Dickey and the party’s vice chairman Matt Mackowiak, presided over a very successful Travis County Republican Party Reagan Gala at the Austin Club (the speaker was Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, who didn’t vote for Trump).
A happy ending for Dickey and the Travis County GOP.
But then, last Saturday, out of the blue, Tom Mechler of Amarillo, the state GOP Chairman since 2015, announced he was stepping down, with a plea for comity.
From Tom Mechler’s letter of resignation:
When I first took on this role, it was my vision that our Party would be more united. After one of the most divisive primary elections and heated legislative sessions in recent history, our Party needs to work harder than ever to come together. A party that is fractured by anger and backbiting is a party that will not succeed. It is no secret that our party is divided into factions. It is also no secret that those factions frequently throw rocks at each other. As I prepare to leave this role, my hope is that every faction of this party will treat each other with kindness and respect. Though we may disagree on certain issues, we are all part of the same Republican, conservative family. When we work together and treat each other with respect, we are stronger.
My second goal was for our party to look more like Texas. We live in a diverse state. As the demographics continue to change, our state will soon have a majority-minority voting age population. If we do not continue to make efforts to engage in the diverse communities across Texas, our state will turn blue. This is no longer just a possibility, it is an inevitable reality if we fail to act. Over the past two years, engagement has been my biggest passion. We’ve taken unprecedented strides, and we’ve generated remarkable results. As the SREC selects who will serve as your next state chairman, I encourage them to find someone with this same passion. If we do not engage in the diverse communities across Texas, we will lose the state, then the nation, and there may be no coming back.
With his sudden resignation, the power to replace him was vested with the State Republican Executive Committee, with two members from each of the state Senate districts, when they meet in Austin Saturday June 3.
As I wrote:
There is no certain successor, but Rick Figueroa of Brenham, a member of President Donald Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council, said he planned to seek the job.
Mechler and Figueroa have been engaged in a Republican Party of Texas Hispanic Engagement Listening Tour across the state in recent months.
“He’s planted a lot of great seeds,” Figueroa said Saturday. “If the SREC and Republican Party would be inclined to elect me as chairman, I would begin to harvest those seeds.”
But Figueroa will be contested by other possible candidates including Travis County Republican Party Chairman James Dickey, and Mark Ramsey from Spring, who, as a well-liked executive committee member, might have an insider edge. Ramsey is chief of staff for state Rep. Valoree Swanson of Spring, a member of the Texas House Freedom Caucus.
Since then Ramsey announced he wasn’t going to run for chairman.
That left two candidates.
Until just before the stroke of midnight last night.
Morrow’s candidacy will not be welcome news for the state party, not because he stands a chance of getting a single vote from the SREC but because, like the Travis County Republican Party before it, they will have to figure out how to contend with Morrow.
Also, for Dickey, Morrow’s candidacy is a reminder that somehow Dickey lost to this guy in a fair-and-square, high turnout primary election.
Dickey’s other hurdle would seem to be why the fabulously successful Republican Party of Texas should trust its fortunes to a man who presides over the party in the most famously blue place in the state.
Here is James Dickey announcing his candidacy on Tuesday.
Earlier today I sent the following letter to the members of the State Republican Executive Committee announcing my candidacy for Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas:
Many were surprised by last week’s news that Tom Mechler was stepping down as our Chairman. He was absolutely right that it is a tough, demanding job. We cannot keep the GOP’s position as the guardian of our state’s conservative values without a vigorous and sustained effort.
This is a critical time for the Texas Republican Party, with the Democrats being energized and organized in a way we have not seen before. Make no mistake about it, we will need a lifelong conservative to help lead our Party to a brighter future, and someone who has earned the trust of the grassroots and base of our great party, as well as someone who can constructively work with all party leaders and elected officials.
I am honored and humbled by the number of people who have raised my name as a potential candidate to be our next Republican Party of Texas Chairman. Having attended most of the SREC meetings this past cycle as a guest and discussing with several members the qualities needed to lead our Party in the future, it is my pleasure to announce that I am indeed a candidate.
Serving as Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas is a formidable responsibility. In partnership with the Executive Committee, our next chair will have less than six months to prepare for the start of the 2018 election cycle, where it is critical that we build on our successes from 2016 and re-engage with our base in the areas where we are still not living up to their expectations. We must hit the ground running.
As a Precinct Chairman, a volunteer on numerous campaigns, a Delegate and Alternate Delegate to numerous state and national Republican conventions, and a County Chairman, I have a long and proven track record of working for the benefit of the Republican Party and successfully promoting our conservative values.
We’ve made tremendous strides in Travis County – one of the most challenging areas of our state. During my time as county chair, we:
- Retained our partisan elected positions,
- Added two conservative members to an infamously liberal city council,
- Raised over $350,000, including $100,000 in just the past few months,
- Added a permanent office and two paid staff members,
- Defeated over $2 billion in wasteful and poorly structured bond issues, and
- Reached tens of thousands of voters with improved data and phone banking systems and strategies.
My success in these areas has been a direct result of my focus on building a collaborative environment where all conservative voices in our Party can voice their opinions and work together to advance our common goals with mutual respect. We may not always agree, but as the Party of the Big Tent it is critical we listen to each other and work together in good faith. It is the only way we can grow, sharpen each other, and build on our success.
The Chairman is responsible for providing the tools and environment necessary for the Party to grow and increase its impact. With the Travis County Republican Party we made the most of the technology and data available through the RPT and others to improve our results. As Chairman I would ensure that those tools are improved, expanded, and along with the necessary training, rolled out to county parties all over Texas.
In addition to the urgent need to recruit, train, and support great campaign staff and candidates, the Party has crucial legal responsibilities for the management of the primary elections and the filing of numerous federal, state, and corporate ethics reports. I have the experience of building a great team that can ensure those are managed properly so that our volunteers can focus on winning and keeping Texas red — and making it even redder!
As the primary spokesperson for the Party, the Chairman is also responsible for representing and championing the positions of the Party as reflected in its platform and candidates. I’ve spoken and debated dozens of times on TV, radio, and in newspapers to champion the Republican cause. I’ve also rallied support and sent thousands of communications during numerous difficult legislative fights, including 2013’s HB2 ban on abortions after 20 weeks and 2017’s SB6 privacy protections.
This year alone I testified in favor of multiple RPT Platform items including Constitutional Carry and Property Tax Reform and recruited others to do so as well. As RPT Chair I would expand training and communications around the platform and legislative priorities so that Texas will continue to be a beacon of freedom, virtue, and growth for the entire country.
One of the critical ways I have demonstrated that I can perform the many complex duties of Party Chairman is by ensuring that each committee member knows that their position is heard in an atmosphere of mutual respect and fair dealing. Doing so builds an environment of trust that earns more commitment and achieves better outcomes.
I’m ready and have the experience to get to work with you to make the Republican Party of Texas as great as America needs it to be. Now more than ever America needs a strong and vibrant Texas Republican Party to paint with bold colors.
I believe I am uniquely qualified to lead us into the future we so eagerly seek, and I ask for your vote for Chairman at the June 3rd SREC meeting.
James R. Dickey
Here is Dickey talking about his candidacy on Raging Elephant Radio, which broke the news that Mechler was stepping down.
And here is Rick Figueroa’s case for why the SREC should choose him.
My Vision for the Republican Party of Texas
There is no state party in the country more important than the Republican Party of Texas. Our state dictates the national conversation on conservative governance, innovation, and job creation. Simply put, a strong America requires a strong Republican Party of Texas. After all, it is the efforts of grassroots leaders across our great state who work tirelessly to elect conservative leaders and push for conservative legislation that have helped make Texas a beacon of conservatism for the rest of the nation. And it is the job of the Republican Party of Texas to keep it that way.
If I am fortunate enough to be elected to be your next State Chairman, I promise to not only continue the great work of the past, but to help shepherd our Party to even greater potential in the future. To accomplish such, I present the following five-point plan as a map to help navigate the new areas of growth:
1. Fundraising: To ensure future success, we have to first fuel the machine. With over twenty years of experience in the financial sector and over ten years of experience as a business owner, I know what it takes to make an organization financially successful. I understand the nuances of not just selling products, but selling concepts and ideas. If I’m elected to be your next chairman, I promise to use those skills and that knowledge to ensure our Party shatters previous fundraising levels and has the ability to operate at a capacity never before reached. This will be accomplished through the following means:
a. Systematic broad support- To maintain our independence and ensure we are never beholden to one specific type of donor, we must ensure that our contributions are coming in from a broad spectrum of support. From CEO’s to small business owners, from the $5 donor to the $500 donor, it is important that our Party’s financial support is reflective of the diversity intrinsic within our voting base. If elected Chairman, I will work tirelessly to make sure that our donor base is built up of Texans from all walks of life and all wings of our Party.
b. Fully-funded wish list budget- To ensure our Party remains the strongest State Party in the nation, we must fully-fund our budget. Rather than settling for a bare minimum budget, I promise to work diligently until we have enough money in the bank to fully fund our base and wish list budget. A fully-funded budget will include expanded minority engagement efforts, expanded youth outreach efforts, an expanded media and digital presence, and additional funds to focus on legislative priorities in the future.
c. Expand Grassroots support- Under Steve Munisteri’s leadership, the RPT developed the Grassroots Club. This effort was designed to empower the grassroots to have a seat at the fundraising table. Over the past several years, it has proven to be an effective tool. To date, the largest number of active members we’ve had at one time has been 2,000. If elected Chairman, I promise to work to double that number.
d. Fully-developed finance team- Under the leadership of our current Finance Chairman, Thomas Gleason, the RPT has developed a regional fundraising team across the state. If elected Chairman, I will work with each of these previously identified leaders to ensure we are reaching our maximum potential in every area of the state. The RPT should not receive the majority of its funds from one or two large cities. Rather, we should ensure our financial base is spread evenly across the state.
2. Legislative issues – To maintain the relevancy of our Party, the RPT must take a bold and outspoken stance in support of conservative legislation. At the directive of state convention delegates, the 85th Legislative Session was the first time the Party has taken an active role in advocating for legislative priorities of the grassroots through the establishment of the Legislative Committee. Like many of you, I’ve been personally frustrated and angry to see commonsense conservative measures that the vast majority of Texas Republicans support sit idle as the legislative session draws to a close. I don’t believe that this means we should throw our hands up in frustration, rather we should double down on our efforts to keep fighting for the policies Texas families and taxpayers deserve. It’s important that we be both forceful advocates for our values and also work with our elected officials to help achieve our goals. When Republicans join together, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.
a. Conservative issues- the RPT must be more vocal about our values. We are about far more than votes at the ballot box. We are a Party of values and principles. The RPT must be the voice for these principles.
b. Expand and empower involvement in the future – The RPT must work to expand and empower the voice of the grassroots in the future. Through trainings, expanded opportunities at convention, and regular information updates, the RPT can be a driving force in enacting conservative policy.
3. Expansion of the party- It is no secret that the demographics of our state are rapidly changing. In just a few short years, our state will become one of just five states in the nation with a majority-minority voting age population. If we allow the Democrats to continue their monopoly of courting minority voters, our Party will fade into irrelevancy. If we do not act now, we will lose Texas. At the current pace, it is not a question of “if,” but rather “when.” If the Democrats succeed in taking our state, it will be mathematically impossible for a Republican to ever win the White House. As goes Texas, so goes the nation. Our charge- here and now- is to ensure that they are not successful on our watch. Because of such, we must develop a robust and targeted engagement plan to not just defend our turf, but to also grow our margin of victory for years to come.
a. Engagement- Engagement is my top priority. We can have all of the money in the world, but it means nothing if we don’t have the votes. I have worked with Governor Abbott’s office and the previous Chairman to develop the most sophisticated, focused minority engagement program in our Party’s history. Relying on models, data, and previous trends at the precinct level, we’ve developed a plan that targets the highest opportunity voters in the highest opportunity areas. But we aren’t just using data to micro-target voters, we are also coupling it with a relational element to ensure that our efforts establish tangible, long-term relationships in these communities.
b. County Chairs- If I’m elected Chairman, we will work closely with the TRCCA to develop a program to empower our County Chairmen. This effort will focus on incentivizing growth in areas such as precinct chair development, local outreach, and training. We are a bottom-up organization, and the RPT should ensure all of our county chairs have the support, resources, and information they need to reach their maximum potential. This incentive program will be broken down by population segments and will operate on a points system. Each area of growth will be awarded with a certain number of points. County Parties that reach certain point levels will be commemorated at State Convention, via email, and with commemorative plaques. This plan hopes to encourage growth at the local level but will also serve to recognize and applaud the hard work of these leaders. We have already begun to develop the metrics for success in this plan. If elected Chairman, we will be ready to implement the program by the beginning of July.
c. Youth outreach– Engaging the next generation of Republican leaders is essential to the success of the Republican Party of Texas. I want to empower the Texas Federation of Young Republicans, The Texas Federation of College Republicans, and the Texas Association of High School Republicans to not only be a driving force in Texas’ political scene, but also a breeding ground for new Republican leaders. To do this, the party will supply materials, trainings, and youth summits where we will give the next generation a voice and listen to what issues are most important to them. Once we hear what is most important, we can better engage with conservative youth populations across Texas. Also, the Republican Party of Texas, through a statewide internship program, will take an active role in identifying and training the next generation to later become staffers for political offices. Through both mentorship and leadership opportunities, we will successfully lay the groundwork for the leadership of the Republican Party of Texas for generations to come.
d. Results- Each of these engagement and outreach plans will be accompanied by measurable metrics for success. If fully-funded and fully-implemented, we will not just defend our vulnerable seats in 2018, we will continue to grow our Republican margins for years to come.
i. The “Dime” (tell me) Listening Tour is one of those relational elements. This effort has already achieved remarkable successes across the state. With over 50% of attendees at each event self-reporting that they have never before attended a Republican event, we are truly reaching a new audience. These tours have already reached over 500 Hispanic Texans, produced close to 100 new volunteers, and over 15 new precinct chairs. This effort has already received national recognition. The RNC and the White House are both evaluating Texas’ engagement plan as a potential model to roll-out all across the country. If I’m elected Chairman, I will continue to work with all levels of our Party to grow this effort in every demographic group in Texas. This type of robust plan will not just continue in Hispanic communities, but will be replicated and rolled out in Asian and African American communities as well.
4. Winning Elections – We must never rest on our laurels or take our successes for granted. Make no mistake, Texas is the crown jewel for national Democrats. Our state must be rigorously defended election cycle after election cycle. To do that, we must adapt to run modern campaigns and work tirelessly to win on all levels of the ballot. Today’s county commissioner is tomorrow’s member of Congress or State Senator.
a. Adapting to Win – Campaign technology is rapidly changing at an almost constant pace. The Republican Party of Texas must use the latest tools, in conjunction with our statewide elected officials, so that we are well prepared to utilize the data collected from our grassroots activities.
b. Harnessing the power of the grassroots – While technology is a critical advantage, it is undoubtedly the power of the grassroots that wins elections. Texas Republicans have consistently produced the largest grassroots army in America. Not only have we made tens of millions of door knocks and phone calls in our state, we have also helped secure victories in battleground states across the country. It is imperative that the RPT hire a full-time political director and immediately begin working with our statewide elected leadership to build a grassroots program that positions us for a dominating 2018 election cycle.
5. Accountability & Accessibility – We must make sure that there is accountability in our plan. The best way to ensure success is to measure your progress. As a businessman, I’m a firm believer in not just developing a solid plan, but developing deliverable metrics to accompany that plan. If I’m elected Chairman, we will develop clearly-defined goals for every aspect of our party. Those goals (and subsequent progress) will be made available to the SREC. The more transparent we are in our efforts and progresses, the better able we will be to work together as a unified team. If elected Chairman, I promise to be open with you, honest about our progresses, and transparent about our processes. Our next chairman must be accessible and be an amplifier for the voice of the grassroots. You can count on me to be just that. I will always be accessible and work to foster an environment of teamwork among staff, party leadership, activists, and anyone else who wants to help us advance our conservative agenda and keep Texas red.
As Chairman, I will work hard every day to make sure the Republican Party of Texas remains the national leader on promoting and enacting conservative principles and policies, remains fiscally responsible and strong, and remains well-positioned to dominate the Democrats on every level of the ballot in every part of the state. Together, we will ensure the future success of our Party and the preservation of the principles that have made our party and our state so great!
Here is Rick Figueroa on the Hispanic Engagement Listening Tour, via Raging Elephant Radio. (Which obviously doesn’t like him.)
There you go, SREC, your three candidates for state chair.
So far, Dickey has picked up some interesting endorsements.
Here, from Julie McCarty, the influential head of the NE Tarrant Tea Party:
I am stunned. Two conservatives both considered running for the same seat. Rather than battle it out, split friendships, and trash each other, they got together and decided one would run and the other step aside. James Dickey and Mark Ramsey both have my utmost respect. And James Dickey now also has my full support in his bid for Texas State GOP Chairman. Your SREC members will vote on your behalf. I beg you to look up who yours are and ask them to support James Dickey.
And, also here from Amy Hedtke, who I wrote about on a First Reading at the beginning of the month: Some like it hot: How Amy Hedtke went from Scout mom to anarchist Republican and James O’Keefe heroine
I support James Dickey for interim State Chair and urge our SREC to publicly support, endorse, and vote for him at the SREC mtg in June.
So Dickey clearly has the edge with the Tea Party and the anarchists.
We’ll have to see if and how Figueroa and Morrow answer that.