On Tuesday, December 8th, I sent the following question to all four announced (now filed) candidates for the position of Chair of the Harris County Republican Party:
Good afternoon. As you know, I think that the HCRP chairman’s race is the most important race in the upcoming primary, more important even than Governor. I say that because I think that as Harris County goes, the state will follow. I truly believe that. As such, I would like to ask each of you:
Paul, Don, Ed – what three areas do you think the party needs to improve upon in order to regain its stronghold in Harris County and why?
Jared – what three areas of past success would you like to build upon in order to maintain Harris County’s status as the largest Republican county in the U.S.?
I’m certain that each of you have already thought about those questions in making your decision to run and hope that this doesn’t impose too great a time constraint on you. I would like to publish this this week, so if you could respond by Thursday morning, I would appreciate it. As always, I will post your answers verbatim, without commentary. Again, if you choose not to respond, I will simply note that without commentary. I had a very positive response to the last round of questions because I think people are hungry for information and want to make the right choice going forward.
If any of you think the time constraint is too tight, let me know and I will publish next week.
I had originally wanted to publish this on the 10th, thinking that it was an easy question but a couple of the guys could not respond in time, so I extended the time to Sunday evening for publication Monday, the 14th. I sent two follow-up emails as courtesy reminders to each candidate if they wanted to participate. Three of the candidates responded with answers. The incumbent, Jared Woodfill did not respond. Please see update at the bottom of the page.
Below is a quick overview of their responses. I will follow this up with a separate posts containing Mr. Hubbard’s, Mr. Large’s, and Mr. Simpson’s responses in full.
Ed Hubbard – Thanks again for the forum that you are providing all four of us to air our positions. As with your questions about ethics, I want to give a little background for my answers to your question about what needs improvement.
The fundamental tasks of the party organization are two-fold: to preserve the party as a viable entity; and, to mobilize and coordinate the activists and voters to elect the party’s candidates and support the party’s elected officials. Everything a party organization does should be focused on these primary tasks, and anything that does not contribute to that task is of secondary importance.
For too long, the current leadership of the HCRP has focused on matters of secondary importance to its proper role. This was understandable, because they came to office when the GOP was at the apex of its power in this county, and it took little effort to deliver the base vote needed to win elections or to mobilize support for our elected officials. These conditions allowed the current team to spend its time focusing on statewide and national issues, lobbying, and factional divisions within the party, instead of on the organizational needs related to sustaining the entity and mobilizing activists and voters. As a result of this inattention, when the technology and strategies utilized by our opponents changed (which caught us flat-footed starting in 2006 with the straight-ticket vote), the HCRP failed to adapt in time to avoid the 2008 drubbing of our ticket.
My goal is simple: to re-focus the HCRP on its primary tasks—preserving a viable entity, mobilizing and coordinating the activists and voters to win elections, and supporting our Republican officials once they are in office. To meet this goal, we have to address virtually every aspect of the organization and function of the HCRP, but the three most pressing areas that need improvement are
- Growth of the base through inclusion;
- Modernization of all aspects of party functions; and
- Closing the communication and credibility gap between our base (the activists and voters) on the one hand, and our elected officials and candidates on the other hand.
Don Large – Here are my responses to your question as to three areas I think the Harris County Republican Party needs to improve upon in order to regain its stronghold in Harris County for the election cycles to come.
I always look forward to answering any and all questions about this race. You are correct. Although it will appear at the bottom of the primary ballot, the choice of whom should next serve the Harris County Republican Party as its Chairman from 2010 through 2012 has never been more critical. Our Republican primary voters, our precinct chairs, our candidates, and our appointed and elected officials, need to know what our next Chairman stands for and what our next Chairman will do to lead the number one county Republican party in the nation to victory in the years and the election cycles to come.
- Coordination and Training
Paul Simpson – The Harris County Republican Party suffered its worst defeat in over 40 years in 2008. But that defeat did not happen overnight – it followed eight years of electoral decline under the incumbent County Chair. Eight years on the path to failure is enough. It is time for new leadership. That is why I am running for Harris County Republican Chair in the March 2010 primary.
The sleeping giant that is American conservatism has awoken. Opportunity abounds. The Party can be resurgent with effective teamwork and leadership to confront its challenges, build on our principles, and forge new tools for future victories, while being true to our traditional conservative vision.
Our challenges did not spring up overnight and will take time to fix. To do so, we need action on three broad fronts:
Jared Woodfill – I welcome the opportunity to share some of the many areas on which we would like to build and expand upon during this next year. 2010 is a pivotal year and we have a great deal of work ahead of us.
- Community Meetings
- Communication Technology
I want to thank each of the gentlemen that responded. They certainly didn’t have to, as evidenced by the incumbent, but I do think that the answers that they provided will give voters insight into their vision for the party. As you can see above, there are a broad range of issues that are coming to the forefront. I hope to continue this dialogue with all of the candidates in the coming months as voters prepare for one of the most critical primary elections for Harris County Republicans in many years.
UPDATE: The original post contained a “No Response” from Mr. Woodfill because, as of 10:00 pm Sunday night, I had received no response and had told the candidates that I would publish any response I received “by Sunday night”. Which I did, scheduling this post to publish at Midnight on Monday, December 14th.
This morning, I received an email from Richard Dillon, sent at 11:49 pm Sunday night, as a response for Mr. Woodfill, so I updated the post to reflect this information. Mr. Dillon is a part of Chairman Woodfill’s leadership team at the HCRP and is certainly qualified to answer the question as presented. I don’t know if that is fair or not but my intent is to provide information, not to support any specific candidate. It is well known that I think Mr. Woodfill needs to step aside, so I do not think there would be any point in leaving this information out. I apologize in advance to the other candidates if this offends them and in the future, will offer them the same privilege of having a surrogate fill in.