Nearly 300 recently-elected or re-elected republican precinct chairs and party officers met Thursday evening September 6 at the Morris Cultural Arts Center of Houston Baptist University to install new officers of the Harris County Republican Party Executive Committee and outline their fall election strategy. This was the first time the committee has met at this venue. For several years, it met at the HCC campus on the West Loop.
All political parties are governed by state law, and must follow certain procedures including the partisan primary election every 2 years. Consequently, all party positions terminated earlier this year. In addition to the candidates for US Senate, Congress, state legislature, and County positions, each precinct elects a precinct chair in a party primary who sits on the county executive committee. For the Harris County GOP, a minimum of 122 in attendance was required for a quorum, easily surpassed by the 290 precinct chairs. (As might be expected, only passing light-hearted mention was made of the ongoing Democratic National Convention and the forthcoming speech by President Obama later that evening. ) I was elected precinct chair for Precinct 193 in midtown Houston, having served by appointment since the fall of 2010.
Like all other offices from the President, Congress, and Supreme Court down, precinct captains must take an oath of office administered by an appropriate official. In this case, Harris County Commissioner Jack Cagle (Precinct 4) administered the oath to re-elected chairman Jarrod Woodfill. Once installed, the President asked the entire assembly of precinct chairs to stand and take the oath. Only when this ritual was completed could business be conducted lawfully.
Chairman Woodfill introduced the many GOP candidates in attendance. The committee then elected the other officers, and received reports ranging from the correction of technicalities resulting from redistricting to an update on the Republican National Convention. Following the general business, the chairs from each State Senate District held caucuses, primarily to elect new officers.