In light of recent developments, the Harris County Republican Party Advisory Board – after conferring with legal counsel, the State Chair, and Republican Party of Texas officials – has made alternative plans for Executive Committee meetings to 1) elect a new County Chair, 2) nominate a County Clerk candidate, and 3) organize to adopt bylaws and elect new officers for HCRP this summer. Each of these three items must be done by the new Executive Committee, which automatically takes office on August 3.
Thanks to the Advisory Board (names listed below), legal counsel, and the State Party for working diligently this week to determine the best path forward to reach a consensus solution. Below we have laid out two paths based on current state statutes and RPT rules. Please read them carefully and the explanation provided. We will continue to keep you updated on the process and ask that questions be directed to your current Senate District Chair.
- Plan A: hold an organizational Executive Committee meeting on Saturday, August 8, to elect a County Chair, name a County Clerk candidate, and organize the new Executive Committee.
- Plan B: hold an Executive Committee meeting on Saturday, August 8, to elect a County Chair and a County Clerk candidate, and hold the new Executive Committee's organizational meeting on Saturday, September 12 (because holding the organizational meeting on August 8 will require relaxing State Party rules for when written notice of organizational meetings can be given).
Background – County Chair and County Clerk Elections:
- Only the newly elected Executive Committee that takes office on Monday, August 3, can elect a County Chair and County Clerk candidate, and not before August 3.
- When an incoming County Chair declines to take office, the State Chair – upon request of a precinct chair after taking office August 3 – must then call an EC meeting to elect a new County Chair and name a temporary chair to conduct the meeting until the new Chair is elected.
- Both the election of the County Chair and of the County Clerk candidate require 50% of the members of the new Executive Committee to be in attendance to constitute a quorum.
- The deadline for the new EC to elect a County Clerk candidate is August 24.
Background – Executive Committee Organizational Meeting:
- The incoming County Chair normally calls the new EC's organizational meeting after taking office. Until then, the new EC has no bylaws or other officers. In the absence of a County Chair, 50 new precinct chairs can call an organizational meeting, but cannot send notice before August 3.
- State Party rules require 14 days' notice for the organizational meeting.
- Because notice cannot be given until August 3, the organizational meeting cannot take place before August 17 (under current RPT Rules).
- Due to the length of an organizational meeting, a weekday evening meeting is not feasible.
- State Party rules bar an EC meeting between August 21-31 (due to the National Convention).
- The deadline for the new EC organizational meeting is Thursday, September 17. September 5 is Labor Day weekend, so September 12 is the best Saturday available for the organizational meeting (under Plan B).
- There is no quorum requirement for the organizational meeting.
We have formed a task force to work with the RPT Rules Committee to relax the notice requirements so the organizational meeting could also be held on August 8 (Plan A above). If you are interested in reviewing the statutes and Party Rules that come into play, see Texas Election Code Section 171.025, (about filling a County Chair vacancy), Texas Election Code Sections Section 202.006 and Section 145.036 (about nominating a County Clerk candidate), and Republican Party of Texas Rule 8 (concerning Executive Committee organizational and other meetings).
Note: we had tentatively planned (but not called) a June 29 EC meeting so the newly elected incoming County Chair could get an early start. That is no longer needed or feasible. It also would have required the current County Chair to resign before the meeting. With the newly elected chair not taking office, quorum requirements, persistent social distancing limitations, and many precinct chairs working early voting starting June 29, the risk of the office being vacant during the runoff election is too great. So as the current County Chair, I will remain in office until the current term ends August 2. In the interim, we will have SD Conventions, runoff elections, and the State Convention in Houston.
HCRP facilities will be available for precinct chairs or other GOP groups who want to host forums for those interested in running for County Chair or the County Clerk. Thanks for your continued support and commitment to the Party and to our mission of electing Republicans up and down the ballot in November.
Paul Simpson, County Chair
Harris County Republican Party
HCRP ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
Vice-Chairman Dana Myers (ex officio)
Secretary Debra Risinger
Treasurer Bryant Gaudette (ex officio)
Legal Counsel Will Hickman (ex officio)
Sergeant-at-Arms Joe Pennington (ex officio)
SD 4 Chair Alice Rekeweg
SD 6 Chair Rex Teter
SD 7 Chair David M. Riddle
SD 11 Chair Scott Bowen
SD 13 Chair Kristy Bridges
SD 15 Chair Rolando Garcia
SD 17 Bob Sumicek
SD 18 Howard Barker
At-Large Appointee Mary Jane Smith
At-Large Appointee Joe Pelati