A version of this post originally appeared on Candy Noble’s personal blog.

I can’t believe it has finally arrived!  The day when Texas is an actual player in the choosing of a Presidential Republican Nominee is here.  Early voting runs from tomorrow (Tuesday, February 16) until February 26.  Election Day is (in case you’ve been living under a rock) March 1.

The State Republican Executive Committee met this past weekend in Austin.  This will be our last meeting prior to the Primary and the Convention, so a great deal of work was done in preparation for both, as well as the on-going work of the party.

As usual, we heard from a number of elected officials and candidates.  These included Supreme Court, Place 3 Candidates Judge Michael Massengale and Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann.  We also heard from Supreme Court Justice (and candidate for Place 5) Paul Green.  Congressman Joe Barton was our breakfast sponsor he gave us an update from Washington DC.  We also heard from two Texas Railroad Commissioner Candidates:  Weston Martinez and John Greytok.

As of Saturday, when we appointed three new County Chairs, have every single Texas County filled with a Republican County Chair.

News from the Texas GOP is good.  As of Saturday, when we appointed three new County Chairs, have every single Texas County filled with a Republican County Chair.  We also continue to be sound financially with more than $810,000 cash on hand.  We also had our 2015 Audit Report. Our Audit revealed that our records are in good order and we had a clean, unmodified report, which is the highest level opinion that CPA’s in Texas can give.  Very nice.

We had two openings on the State Republican Executive Committee.  Mark Dorazio was the only candidate for the SD 25 opening, and he was elected.  Fred Bible and Fred Rangel both ran for the SD 26 opening (San Antonio area).  Fred Rangel won that contest which was held around 9:20am.  I’m sad to report that Fred Rangel was rushed to an Austin hospital just before noon with chest pains and was admitted.  Apparently, he had a stroke.  I’ve not gotten an update on his condition, so I hope that you’ll join me in praying for our newest SREC member to make a full recovery.

Chairman Tom Mechler reported that Republicans had not lost a state-wide race since 1994.  However, we must remain diligent and effective because “Battleground Texas” is still here.  They are especially active in the minority communities.  The good news is that we are too.  We not only have push cards that show the differences in Republican and Democratic issues in English, we have them in Spanish and now in Chinese.  Engagement in minority and young voter groups must be a priority if we are to reach these voters, because they share our love of the Constitution, Freedom and Liberty.  Chairman Mechler also shared that we already have $300,000 pledged from major donors for the Convention costs.

Vice Chairman Amy Clark shared that there will be a “Republican Party of Texas Serves” day across the state on April 16th .  She’ll send more information as the plans develop.

RPT General Counsel Patrick O’Daniel and Co-Counsel Eric Opiela talked about a couple of ballot challenges that have been brought against the Party. One is from Congressman Al Green who wants his opponent’s name removed from the ballot.  The Texas GOP also was sent a demand letter concerning the residency of a candidate for District Attorney in Brown County.  Neither of these challenges will cost the party money since they are covered under the Texas Primary Fund. One other interesting thing with the election:  a Congressional Candidate (I don’t know which race) has been using the Republican Party of Texas logo in their campaign literature.  The Party has asked the candidate to stop, but they have not complied.  Campaign time apparently calls for crazy shenanigans for a few candidates.

There is still a need for volunteer attorneys from around the state to step up during the November General Election and be ready to help with Election Challenges.  There is no need to be an expert at Election Law, just be willing to be taught.  Let me know if you know an attorney that would be interested in helping in November.

Treasurer Tom Washington shared some good news and bad news.  The good news is that our Online donations have exceeded $100,000, and the Grassroots Club members have made a $96,000 impact on the Party.  Major fundraising since Tom Mechler has become Chairman has exceeded $2 million.  The bad news (and we knew this was coming) is that the RNC will cut in half the amount they have been giving to Texas to run our Victory Centers and Engagement staff. Evidently the RNC feels these funds are better spent in securing our victory in the swing States. We will go from $500,000 a year to only $250,000 this year.  It will be up to us to help fund our Texas Victory in November.

National Committeewoman Toni Ann Dashiell reported that the RNC has raised a record $105.1 million, with more cash on hand than the DNC. She and National Committeeman Robin Armstrong have the difficult task of picking just one Page to represent the entire state of Texas at the National Republican Convention.  The Page must be in age between 16-25, but they prefer 18-22.   The deadline for applicants is April 1.  Finally, the RNC has created a “Republican Leadership Initiative” for training leaders from around the nation to register voters, turn out the vote and encourage participation in others to do the same through Campaign Technology and Volunteer Activism.  For more information on how you can be a part:  https://www.gop.com/republican-leadership-initiative

National Committeeman Robin Armstrong shared about the RNC’s effort to have a “Ground Game” in all 50 states after the nominee is decided upon.  Field staff have been in place since 2012 in targeted states and our digital and data progress is going well.  Every Presidential hopeful has had access to the RNC Technology and are sharing the information they gain during their primary campaigns to be used to build a single infrastructure ready to go for the November election.  Robin also shared that Texas has 1/8 of all the Delegates needed for a Candidate to win the nomination.  Go Vote!

We considered several Resolutions as a full SREC.  One that passed honored the Life of Barbara “Babs” Miller, the late wife of Rick Miller.  Another one honoring the on-going work of Ileene Robinson for her advocacy in the field of disabilities also passed.  The most interesting one we passed was prior to the news of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Scalia reached the press.  We passed a Resolution calling for a “Presidential Nominations Moratorium on Presidential Nominations”.  In other words, we are asking the U.S. Senate to refuse to confirm anyone nominated by President Obama for any public office except those for positions crucial to national security, and that all national security nominees should be vetted by the strictest standard with emphasis on their record of respect for the Constitution.  A couple of other Resolutions were considered, but did not pass.

There are opportunities to help out with party financially.  As the Chair of the Grassroots Club Committee, I would love to have you join our group at www.grassrootsclub.com . This costs only $8.25 a month or $99 a year.  If you are going to the State Convention as a Delegate, you’ll want to be a part so you can get early bird registration ahead of all the other Delegates and participate in a members-only “Grazing with the Elephants” breakfast on Friday.  Another way to help down-ballot candidates across the state is to donate to the Candidate Resource Committee.  Check out http://www.texasgop.org/crc/ for more information on this worthy cause.

Rhonda Lacy is heading up the “Mighty Texas Strike Force” to make a difference around Texas and the nation in areas that are up for grabs by either party.  Do you have some time available to help out between the Primary and November 8th?  Volunteers are our most valuable resource in winning elections.  Spots in leadership are available as well as general volunteers.  Some of you reading this would be amazing leaders in our Strike Force.  Go to http://www.texasgop.org/strikeforce for more information.

Linda Kinney was appointed to head up the 2018 Convention Committee.  Conventions take years of planning to make happen. Only a few cities in Texas have the ability to hold a Convention the size of ours, which claims to be the largest political convention in the world.  I understand that with the 2016 Convention being the 4th in a row to be held in the Metroplex that some folks from other areas want a change.  It’ll be interesting to see the proposals from other parts of the state.

I wanted to include the links to the Early Voting information from our wonderful local Republican Parties:
Collin County: https://www.collincountygop.org/collin-county-early-voting-locations/
Dallas County:  http://dallasgop.org/wheretovote/
Denton County:   http://dentongop.org/voting-in-denton-county

It is time for us all to move from spectator (or frustrated, or interested or busy) to EFFECTIVE.  We only have 266 days left till November 8th.  Let’s make them count!