I received this communication from State Republican Executive Committee member Mark McCaig in response to my post about Tina Benkiser’s resignation as state chairman of the SREC. McCaig has been a critic of Benkiser’s leadership and had considered running against her had she run for reelection. McCaig writes: I do not believe Tina could have won re-election had she sought another term as State Chairman and I think the job with Perry is a convenient excuse for her to step aside now. Let’s face it – the folks who care what Tina has to say were already in Perry’s corner. A lot of folks in the party were starting to be more vocal in their criticism about the lack of organization and effectiveness that has plagued RPT the past several years. Something else worth noting is that a new party rule was passed at the last state convention to set [the] minimum number of State Convention delegates at 7,500. The formula to determine [the number of delegates] is based on the number of votes for the GOP nominee for Governor in the last general election, and due to Perry’s 39% performance there were fewer delegates at the 2008 convention than in years past. The (likely unintended) consequence of this new rule is that it will be easier for people who do not have much, if any, party experience to become delegates to the state convention. These new people, by and large, will probably want to get involved in the convention process because of tea parties, Ron Paul, etc. and would be more inclined to support a challenger to Benkiser. The next month will be very interesting, to say the least. The only announced candidate to fill the vacancy thus far is Tom Mechler of Amarillo, but tere is no doubt that other candidates will emerge very shortly. While I had filed paperwork with the TEC [Texas Ethics Commission] to run for State Chairman at the 2010 convention, I have decided not to see the Chairmanship in light of Tina’s resignation. Should one emerge, I am inclined to support a “caretaker” candidate to fill Tina’s term who will not seek election in 2010. I think that the election of a State Chairman is a duty that is best left in the hands of the 7,500 state convention delegates, not the 62 members of the SREC. Tina was elected under an identical process in 2003 when she took over for Susan Weddington and I do not want to continue a habit of the SREC giving the advantages of incumbency to State Chairmen. * * * * My comments: McCaig’s comments reinforce what I wrote in my post about Benkiser’s switch to the Perry campaign. She was an ineffective and controversial chairman and sought to build that part of the party with which she is ideologically comfortable instead of broadening the appeal of the party. Benkiser did nothing to attract Hispanics to the GOP; indeed, she presided over the adoption of a party platform that states, concerning immigration, “No amnesty! No how! No way!” McCaig couldn’t have said it better: “The folks who care what Tina has to say were already in Perry’s corner.”
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