The man who many say is responsible for the Republican Party of Texas being as large and successful as it is, Dwight “Clint” Moore, passed away at age 63 on Tuesday.
The Harris County native put the “active” in grassroots activist. State Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) likened Moore to “the rock of Gibraltar of grassroots politics in Harris County.”
That’s a fitting comparison by Bettencourt, considering Moore’s day job was a geologist.
Bettencourt added, “He was a modern-day minuteman. We’re going to sincerely miss him.”
Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, James Dickey, reflecting on the man he had known for so long, told The Texan, “He was a cheerful warrior in the definition of his hero, President Reagan.”
“It was always a pleasure to work with Clint — his impact was overwhelming for someone that the average citizen has probably never heard of. For him, it was about sticking to his principles and amplifying the grassroots,” Dickey eulogized.
Former Republican National Committeewoman Denise McNamara echoed this sentiment, saying, “Unfailingly optimistic and exuberant in his vision of what might be accomplished. Always excited to serve as a team player to realize the vision and goals set forth.”
Moore served on the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) from Senate District 7 from 2004-2012 and was recently appointed the assistant parliamentarian for the SREC. According to those close to the situation, Moore had missed only three meetings of the SREC — attending close to 100, many of which while he was not even on the committee.
State Rep. Valoree Swanson (R-Spring) said of Moore, “Not only was he a dear friend but he also truly was fighting for our country and conservative causes — a rock-solid conservative.”
Swanson was Moore’s representative in the House and worked with him on countless issues and projects spanning four decades. Mentioning that Moore would occasionally call her in the waning hours of the evening during the session to strategize, she surmised he was probably often on his way home from his day job.
“He was supportive to everyone around him and served as a mentor to many in the conservative movement,” Swanson concluded.
Houston GOP consultant and friend of Clint, Jeff Yates, called Moore “a sparkplug” and said that “If he set his mind to something, he’d move heaven and earth to get it done.”
“You’d be hard-pressed to find someone more dedicated than Clint,” Yates extolled.
Having politically engaged parents, Clint began knocking doors for campaigns at the ripe age of four years old. From then on, he was hooked.
Moore’s most significant political achievement came when he spearheaded the effort to vastly expand the number of state delegates that participate in the state party’s convention. Thanks to his formula within the rule change, the number expanded from hundreds to thousands — thus increasing the accessibility and accountability of the party that has come to dominate Lone Star politics.
Members of the SREC said of this accomplishment, “With his passion for grassroots activism, coupled with his encyclopedic knowledge and understanding of rules, he was a major force for building the Republican Party of Texas (RPT). He strongly believed that the RPT should be driven by the grassroots rather than top-down. As a result, the biennial RPT convention has become the largest political convention in the nation, eclipsing even the national party conventions.”
Paul Simpson, Chairman of the Harris County GOP, said of Moore, “As a tireless grassroots leader, Clint had a profound, positive, and lasting impact on the Republican Party in Harris County and across Texas.”
Harris County GOP activist Gail Stanart — whom Clint mentored — told The Texan, “I can’t even begin to describe how big of a loss this is to Harris County, let alone his family.”
“He was smart and had a memory like you wouldn’t believe,” Stanart admired of her longtime friend and mentor.
Clint ran for Congress in 2004 and his website from that campaign is still up.
His list of priorities from the campaign reads like a tried-and-true conservative Republican — pro-life, pro-second amendment, and pro-tax relief, among others — but his passion hit home in the rules governing the party for which he cared so much.
Yates recalls countless debates with Moore over obscure rules, the kind two friends can have over genuine, honest disagreement. Yates said Moore focused on that which many others often fail to see: the unintended consequences of a rule. For his part in those debates, Yates said Moore was right far more often than he was wrong.
And even after hashing it out, Moore was always quick to call Yates and express that a heated debate could never get in the way of two old friends.
A geologist by day, grassroots activist by night, Clint Moore left a Texas-sized mark on the state’s Republican Party. He spent his professional life — at risk of oversimplification — studying rocks and yet was seen as a rock for so many in his life.
After talking to numerous friends and colleagues of Clint, it’s clear his legacy is far greater than these words can do justice. A more fitting tribute is the friends, neighbors, and community members who gathered outside his house to pay their respects after hearing of his passing.
Clint is survived by his wife Diana. They were married for 33 years.
Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.