Saturday, March 31, 2012

BLOG copy of basic Travis County GOP Convention Participation Process

A good post copied from our friends Michelle and Randy Samuelson, From Blue-Dot-Blues Blog:

Participating in the Republican Conventions in Travis County 2012
If you plan to participate in this year's Republican convention process, it will be extremely important for you to know the following:

1 - Due to the timing of the primary and state convention, county parties were given the option to decide whether or not they would hold precinct conventions. After a vote of the Travis County Executive Committee on Tuesday, there will be no Precinct Conventions held this year in Travis County.

2 - In order to be eligible to serve as a delegate/alternate at the Senatorial District conventions on April 21 (and in order to continue on to the State convention in June), you need to be sworn in and given an card confirming your oath as a Republican.

3 - To take the oath, you have some options:

Go to TCRP Headquarters between 10am and 3pm, Monday-Friday, up until April 20. Someone will be there to perform the oath. You should bring, if you have it, your most recent voter card. The address is 7901 Cameron Road, Suite 3-202, Austin, Texas 78754. The phone number, if you want to call ahead, is 512-302-1776
Contact your precinct chairman, who can also perform the oath. Not sure of your precinct? Look it up at The list of precinct chairmen is available here (click on the name to get an email address):
You can also take the oath the morning of the Senatorial District conventions (April 21) at registration. The party is encouraging you to do it sooner to avoid any registrations delays, but it is an option if you aren't able to make it work before then.

The Senatorial District conventions for all of Travis County will be held on Saturday, April 21 at Hyde Park Baptist Church (3901 Speedway, Austin, 78751). State delegates and alternates will be elected at the convention and resolutions will be passed to send on to the state Platform Committee. Temporary Committee Meetings for all four Senate Districts in our county will be held on April 16 and 17, from 6pm to 9pm, at TCRP Headquarters if you wish to weigh in or view the process (those committees are Nominations, Rules, Resolutions, and Credentials).

In order to allow for as much participation as possible, please help me spread the word! Tell every Republican you know - feel free to forward this post or re-post on your own blog as well! It's especially important to one more thing: The oath is NOT required for voting in the Republican Primary on May 29. It is ONLY required to participate in the conventions. However, once you take the oath, you cannot participate in the primary or conventions for any other political party.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Travis Executive Committee decisions on 2012 (Apr. 21st) Convention Cycle

March 27th, as expected, turned out to be the largest and most contested Travis GOP Executive meeting of the last two years.  On the bright side, the quorum that attended allowed us to appoint 9 new precinct chairs who had been recommended by the vacancy committee.  It appears that Travis County does now have the new voter registration in the new precincts available on-line.  However, note that for purposes of the SD Conventions, old precinct numbers (from 2010) will still be used; if you are in a precinct with changed numbering, it would help if you had your old voter registration card as well as your new number.  We also note that some new precinct chair vacancies have opened due to splitting of large precincts and certain renumbering that has happened.

The Travis GOP had two important recorded votes at the March 27th (2012) meeting.  First, a vote on hearing a Resolution regarding Precinct Caucusing was narrowly defeated 35-37.  The point of that resolution (included below) was to have the Travis CEC recommend Precinct Caucusing to the Temporary Rules Committees.  Second, an intense debate on holding Precinct Conventions prior to the SD Convention finally ended in a defeat of the motion to hold precinct conventions by a vote of 29 - 43.   I argued and voted in favor of both of the defeated motions.

What this means is the Temporary Convention Committees that meet on April 16th and April 17th will be extremely important as to how the SD Convention conducts business - including the critical issue of how State Delegates and Alternates are selected.

Moreover, according to a strict interpretation of the rules, it is possible for the outcome of the temporary rules committee (which determines, among other things, how State GOP Delegates are chosen) to not be known until the morning of April 21st.  This would mean that a rule giving all authority to at-large nominating committees - which would take away Precinct Caucusing to select delegates, would have to be challenged and modified in a floor contest; and such a floor contest certainly plays into the strength of the temporary Convention leaders and those who have decades of experience working these political conventions.


"Be it resolved that the Travis CEC recommends county SD Temporary Rules Committees to allow a Precinct Caucus, at the SD Conventions April 21st (2012), for the purpose of selecting State Delegates and alternates, consistent with the same Rules in effect from 2006 through 2010."

Don Zimmerman, SD-14 SREC
Many precinct chairs and convention goers are unaware that SD Convention Precinct Caucusing, for the purpose of electing state delegates and alternates, is a relatively new rule which must be established by the SD Temporary Rules Committee.  If Precinct Caucuses are not established in temporary rules, the default will be that ALL state delegates will effectively be chosen by the temporary chairman’s appointed at-large Temporary Nominations Committee.  Starting in 2006, Travis County began utilizing this rule (which was already in place in other metro counties like Bexar and Harris) and it has proven popular; in fact, choosing State Delegates is listed by many as their most meaningful vote of the entire SD Convention. 
Precinct Caucusing is a more representative way of doing Convention business, and in years past has been a faster way to pick delegates; I served on the SD-14 at-large nominations committee in 2008 – the Precinct Caucuses chose delegates in 15 minutes, while the at-large committee took hours.  Precinct Caucuses permit the larger GOP precincts (that have 300 or more Rick Perry votes) to choose their own State Delegates, while the nominations committee still has delegate slots to fill at-large at their own discretion.
Please note that authority and responsibility for setting the Precinct Caucus rules should (and does) reside with the SD Temporary Rules Committee – there are different considerations for each SD and they must set their own rules.
This Resolution merely highlights this very important rule and, if approved, would express the desire of the entire TCRP group to have Precinct Caucuses on April 21st.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Central Texas Republican Assembly Endorsements, Round 1

MARCH 15, 2012
Contact: Daniel McDonald, (512) 694-0654


The Central Texas Republican Assembly (CTRA) endorsed in three primary races on Tuesday
evening. The candidates endorsed were Donna Campbell (State Senate, District 25), Ken
Mercer (State Board of Education, Place 5), and Jim Strickland (Travis County Commissioner,
Place 3).

“The CTRA is proud to put our support behind these conservative candidates,” said president
Daniel McDonald. “These are the candidates we believe will best represent the Republican
Party’s platform and conservative values if they are elected to their respective offices.”
The candidates in several local races were sent questionnaires, and an endorsement committee
made recommendations to the membership. Candidates were invited to attend Tuesday’s
meeting to make their case to the membership. The CTRA will consider candidates in the other
races in Travis, Hays, and Bastrop counties at an upcoming meeting.

In order to endorse in a contested Republican primary, a quorum of the membership must be
present, and a candidate must receive the support of two-thirds (67%) of those present.
The Central Texas Republican Assembly is a grassroots volunteer organization that works to
elect mainstream conservatives to public office. The CTRA is a member chapter of the Texas
Republican Assembly and the National Federation of Republican Assemblies. The CTRA was
founded in 2001 and is active in Travis, Hays, and Bastrop counties.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Travis County GOP Conventions for 2012: new rules and logistics

Like other Texas Counties, the Travis County GOP is trying to deal with implementing and adjusting to the new "emergency" rules passed by the SREC on Feb 29th.  Yesterday evening (08-Mar-12), Travis County GOP leadership met to discuss ways to conform to the new rules.  As your SD-14 SREC representative, here is my take on the issues discussed and how grassroots Republicans can contribute to an optimum experience.

1. Precinct Conventions:  The Feb 29th rules provided for a Precinct Convention option to be voted on by the County Executive Committee.  There was much discussion on this; the main point was raised by RNC Committman Bill Crocker, that new judicial orders prevent the Precinct Conventions from exclusively electing County Convention delegates as they have after past Primary elections.  Consequently, ANYONE who arrives at the Travis SD Conventions Saturday morning, shows voter registration in Travis County, and takes the "Oath of Affiliation", is entitled to join the Precinct Delegation at the SD Convention.  Given this fact, plus the additional cost and logistical / volunteer work, the leadership favored offering an Executive Committee vote (March 27th) on having "Precinct Meetings", which would be held at the order of Precinct Chairs (or precinct volunteers, in absence of a Chair); these meetings would serve for SD Convention participants to get early Oath of Office forms completed, and agree on which Resolutions (if any) they would like to forward to the temporary SD Resolutions Committee.

2. Oath of Affiliation:  The consensus on this issue is to ask/expect RPT to suggest a Oath to be used statewide by all counties (and even help fund printing cost); it would be a "No Carbon Required" (NCR), or carbonless copy, form which the Oath Taker would get a copy, and the Oath Administer (a Precinct Chair of other "officer" would return to the county.  The Oath would include a line for Oath Administer, as well as emphasize the need for a valid UVID (Unique Voter ID), which would be used by a Convention credentials committee to verify elligibility in a certain county and precinct.

3. The ESTIMATED State GOP Convention strength of the four Travis Senate Districts is as follows:
SD       State Delegate Strength
14        211
21        11
24        35
25        33

4. Temporary Committees:  It is proposed that temporary committees, for each of the four SDs, meet on the evenings for April 16th and April 17th, from 7:00PM to at least 9:00PM, at the Travis GOP headquarters.  (Members of those temporary committees, which typically become permanent committees, are appointed by the Temporary SD Chairmen).
Temporary Chairmen are:
SD-14 Bill Crocker
SD-21 Reagan Dees
SD-24 Russell Gallahan
SD-25 Mike Rodriguez

The temporary committees include Credentials, Rules, Resolutions (Platform), Nominations, Permanent Organization.

5.   It is anticipated that the NCR Oath of Affiliation will be available in time for the March 27th CEC; persons who would like to take the oath early are encouraged to attend.

6.  It is proposed to have a pre-registration (with Oath of Affiliation) for the April 21st SD Conventions on the evening of April 20th (around 7 - 9 PM) at the Hyde Park Baptist Church (site of SD Conventions the following Saturday).

In my observation, there is one very critical issue of concern to grassroots precinct convention delegates, that being the question of SD Rules regarding how State GOP Convention Delegates and Alternates are selected.  For at least the past two Travis Convention cycles (2008, 2010, and for far longer than that in other metro counties), the larger GOP precincts have caucused to elect their own State Delegates according the allocation formula of one delegate/alternate for every 300 votes for Rick Perry in the 2010 election.  There should be clarification now on whether SD temporary chairs believe that rule should be suspended, and all nominations done from a temporary committee.  The temporary chairs have sole authority to appoint members of the committees.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New "Emergency" Rules for 2012 Delegates & Conventions

Dear SD-14 Republicans:

Below is the official copy of the new "emergency" rules passed Feb 29th:

The meeting lasted about 2.5 hours, and in my observation was a remarkably productive and well conducted meeting of our SREC term - even more so considering the complexity of the problem we faced.

Most of the messages I got regarding these emergency rules focused on saving the Precinct Conventions; the two amendments I suggested were both adopted in the draft our SREC started with.  I thought all the amendments had at least some merit, and I think the best ones were accepted while the worst were rejected.

Now it is up to the county executive committees to pass their special rules, if and when and where to have the Precinct Conventions, and how to handle credentials for delegates who have no opportunity to vote in the Primary, which in all likelihood will be May 29th.  We expect most County Conventions to happen April 21st.

An important amendment was passed which releases the Texas National Delegates after the first vote, with that first vote proportionally bound by the popular primary vote.  In the case of a brokered convention, most people felt Texas Delegates needed the flexibility to take part in the brokering, which might not extend beyond a the second round.

I want to commend our State Chairman Steve Munisteri, the SREC Officials Committee, RNC Committeeman Bill Crocker, Eric Opiela and the other individuals who did an outstanding job drafting complex rules; we are back on track for an historical great Convention cycle.

And to the Democrats seeking again to exploit the 1965 Voting Rights Act -- necessitated by such outrageous misdeeds as Democrat legislated "white only" primaries two generations ago, we say:

"Don't Mess with Texas"!

Don Zimmerman
SD-14 SREC Committeeman

Senate Fascists Confirm President's Intrusion on Free Exercise of Religion

What's in a headline?

If we lived in country that respected the Constitution and the rights of its citizens to freely exercise their religion, today's vote by Senate Democrats to kill the Blunt amendment would be portrayed as an outrage, along the lines of the headline to this blog.

Just so you remember, the First Amendment to the Constitution, states this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A proponent of the Blunt amendment, Marco Rubio, said this about the Senate vote:
“The Senate’s failure to pass Senator Blunt’s amendment is a setback for religious freedoms in America. We must stop the unconstitutional mandate under ObamaCare that requires church-affiliated organizations to offer their workers private-insurance coverage without out-of-pocket charges for birth control, something they are morally opposed to. Telling religious based organizations that they must, by mandate of the federal government, pay for things that that religion teaches is wrong. You may not agree with what the religion believes, but that’s not the point. The point is the First Amendment still applies. Religious freedom still exists.”

By contrast to the headline to this blog entry, today's headlines about the Senate's action say this:

Washington Post: Birth control exemption bill, the ‘Blunt amendment,’ killed in Senate

Politico: Blunt Amendment defeated in Senate

The Hill: Senate Rejects Blunt Amendment to limit birth-control mandate

Christian Science Monitor: Blunt amendment brings culture wars to Congress

CNN: Senate kills controversial 'conscience' amendment

Goodbye America. It was nice while it lasted.