James Dickey reclaims leadership of the Travis County Republican Party

James Dickey reclaims leadership of the Travis County Republican Party

By Jonathan Tilove

Order — the old order — has been restored at the Travis County Republican Party, with James Dickey reclaiming the chairmanship that he lost to Robert Morrow, with much national to-do, in the party’s March 1 primary.

With the votes of 62 of the 92 precinct chairs who filled a room at the Crowne Plaza Austin for more than 31/2 hours Tuesday night, Dickey succeeded the man who had supplanted him when a surge of new voters — drawn mostly by Donald Trump’s candidacy — elected Morrow, a man whose provocative persona and fringe politics would have presumably alienated an electorate that knew more about him.

“It’s nice to have the Republican Party in Travis County back on strong footing and to have the precinct chairs right the mistake that unfortunately some voters made without really being careful, and I hope that’s a lesson that everybody takes from this,” Dickey said.

“If you don’t know who you’re voting for,” he said, “please do not guess — there is the possibility of a very bad result.”

On Tuesday night, Dickey won with an electorate that knew him well.

Twenty-six votes went to Brendan Steinhauser, an Austin political consultant with national and state political experience, and two went to Matt Lawrence, a political unknown. Two precinct chairs abstained.

Morrow, who wasn’t in attendance, was on Twitter expressing his congratulations to Dickey — his preferred candidate — on his win, and promoting his own candidacy for president.

It was that candidacy — filing in Texas as a certified write-in candidate for president — that cost Morrow his chairmanship. State election law doesn’t allow a party chair to run for other elective office, and, with that, his unorthodox tenure ended.

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