As Texas Governor Greg Abbott has continued to issue executive orders related to the coronavirus pandemic, he is facing growing criticism from party activists who view his actions as executive overreach.
Some county Republican executive committees have passed resolutions under the party’s Rule 44 to censure Abbott for his actions.
While the resolutions at the county level do little more than indicate formal disapproval from local party leaders, each participating county has requested that the GOP state convention vote in agreement with their resolutions and impose penalties on Abbott.
The state convention can take up the resolution and, if passed by a majority vote from members, nullify rules requiring party neutrality in primary or runoff elections involving Abbott or prohibit the Republican Party of Texas from providing “financial or other support” to Abbott’s campaign until the next convention in 2022.
In addition to the state convention, the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) also has the authority to censure Abbott with the same available penalties, but that action would require a two-thirds, not majority, vote.
The following is a list of counties that have censured Abbott.
July 4, 2020: Ector County
The Ector County Republican Executive Committee became the first in the state to issue a censure, opting to pass the resolution on Independence Day to “send a clear message to Governor Abbott.”
Tisha Crow, the GOP Ector County chair, told The Texan that the intention behind the resolution was to motivate Abbott to call an emergency session so that state legislators can address the problems surrounding the pandemic.
Crow said a resolution had been considered several weeks earlier, but they held off on taking action because “it wasn’t quite the time.”
After Abbott issued his mandatory mask order, the county Republicans decided it was time — though Crow stressed it was not specifically because of masks, but rather “about liberties” and “someone infringing upon those illegally.”
She noted that if only the Ector County GOP passed a resolution censuring Abbott, it would likely be brushed aside by the convention.
“It’s a lot harder for the state convention to ignore multiple counties,” said Crow. “That’s a much louder voice [and] a much harder thing to ignore.”
The Ector County GOP voted 10-1 to censure Abbott, with four other members who abstained or were unavailable.
July 6, 2020: Harrison County
On Monday, July 6, the Harrison County Republican Executive Committee became the second to pass a resolution censuring Abbott.
According to the county party chair, the decision was unanimous.
July 8, 2020: Llano County
The Llano County Republican Party stated in a Facebook post that their executive committee passed a resolution to censure Abbott “by vote in excess of two-thirds of those present and voting.”
July 8, 2020: Montgomery County
The Republican executive committee for Montgomery County — one of the largest Republican-leaning counties in the state — voted unanimously to censure Abbott.
Their resolution, like the others, condemned Abbott for violating the party’s principles by “repeatedly creating law via executive order.”
“At the end of the day, what our governor started has rolled beyond what needed to happen,” said State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) member Walter West II at the meeting.
July 9, 2020: Hood County
On July 9, the Hood County Republican Executive Committee voted to censure Abbott.
The resolution, posted by Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury), has signatures from all 13 members on the committee.
July 9, 2020: Denton County
Also on Thursday, July 9, the sizable Republican executive committee in Denton County voted in a 40-10 decision with one abstention to censure Abbott.
“There’s a difference between Democrats and Republicans,” said Jeffrey Axelrod, a precinct chair who introduced the resolution. “We have principles in our Republican Party of Texas platform and planks, and if we don’t adhere to them, we’re no different than the Democrats.”
“Why is it that we always have to compromise our values when we see one of our own doing something wrong? We should call them out because that’s what makes us better than Democrats,” said Axelrod.
July 10, 2020: Eastland County
The ten members of the Eastland County Republican Executive Committee unanimously passed a resolution censuring the governor.
July 11, 2020: Henderson County
In the morning of Saturday, July 11, the Henderson County Republican Executive Committee held a special meeting to consider a resolution to censure Abbott.
Daniel Hunt, the Henderson County Republican Party chairman, told The Texan that 10 out of the 18 members were in attendance and that after “a lengthy discussion and thorough debate,” seven members voted in favor of the resolution and three voted against.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.