88th LegislatureStatewide NewsTexas Democrats Keep Hinojosa as Chair, Fail to Adopt Platform at State Convention

While Hinojosa has focused on mobilizing votes in reliably blue urban areas, Olson promised more attention to rural counties.
July 18, 2022
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By the time Texas Democrats ended their convention on Saturday, the party had elected to keep Gilberto Hinojosa as chairman for another four years but failed to adopt a new platform.

Hinojosa staved off two challengers for the seat: Kim Olson, who ran for agriculture commissioner in 2018, and Carroll Robinson, chairman of the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats.

After placing third in the initial round of voting, Robinson threw his support behind Hinojosa, who ultimately won with 58 percent.

Political strategy was a central issue in the chair election. While Hinojosa has focused on mobilizing votes in reliably blue urban areas, his foremost challenger Olson promised more attention to rural counties.

At the convention, Hinojosa said he would devote more resources to rural races if reelected.

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Additionally, like most elections, the party chair race followed the typical “establishment” versus underdog dynamic. Nearly two dozen Texas House members and five Democratic Texas congressmen endorsed Hinojosa, alongside former U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX-34) and congressional candidate Greg Casar.

However, because many delegates left the assembly early, the party was unable to adopt a new platform.

The party adopts a new platform every two years at the state convention after the party chair appoints a temporary platform committee to write a draft for the document.

At the convention, delegates elect members to the permanent platform committee by senate district. Those committee members finalize the platform and put it before the delegates in the general assembly for adoption.

This year, the convention lost quorum before the platform committee could present the delegates with the proposed platform. Too many delegates had left the assembly already.

The 2020 platform is still in place. Among other principles, it affirms a belief in “inalienable rights” including the right to fair representation, quality public education, affordable healthcare, unbiased justice, privacy, and “best safety practices in the face of contagion.”

Party leadership plans to form a new committee to complete the new platform based on the unadopted recommendations of the regular permanent committee.

“Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa intends to form a Platform Revision Committee with the approval of the State Democratic Executive Committee using the recommendations from the committee that had not yet been reported,” a party spokesman stated.

“The Convention Platform Committee was not able to report its recommended Platform before a quorum call ended the Texas Democratic Convention Saturday night.”

The Republican Party of Texas criticized this plan in a statement released Monday.

“The Texas Democrat platform will now be written behind closed doors by party bosses,” Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi stated.

“The Republican Party of Texas is proud to be a grassroots-led party with a platform drafted by the more than 5,000 delegates in attendance at our convention, which is still the largest political gathering in the country.”

The Republican Party of Texas held its convention last month.

Party platforms are an ideological statement of the delegates, typically the most loyal stalwarts of the party. Although platforms can serve as measuring sticks to help voters gauge politicians’ commitment to the party’s ideals, elected officials are not bound to follow their party’s platform.

Update: The Texas Democratic Party provided a statement concerning the platform.

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Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell is a reporter for The Texan, a Texas native, and a huge Allman Brothers fan. He graduated cum laude from Trinity University in 2020 with a degree in English. Isaiah loves playing music and football with his family.