Article II, Section I of the United States Constitution prescribes the method for whom to award a given states’ Electoral College votes. Electors must be a qualified voter of the state and cannot hold a federal office. The respective parties nominate electors for their candidates at state conventions and the winner’s set are chosen as the delegates to the Electoral College.
To be eligible for a GOP delegate, a prospective candidate must have voted in the party primary, attend their respective county convention, and be elected at the state convention.
For congressional district-specific positions, respective delegates within each district meet and caucus for support. The individual with majority support from there becomes the delegate. The process differs slightly for the two at-large seats.
In each caucus, along with the congressional district delegate, other delegates are appointed to a state party nominations committee which evaluates applications and appoints individuals to the at-large delegate positions.
Matthew Stringer, a second-time elector for Trump from Congressional District 11 who was elected chair of the body Monday, told The Texan before the ceremony, “It’s a remarkable experience and I have a hard time describing the momentous feeling you get participating in a process that is so vividly described in detail in the Constitution.”
“I’ve been humbled by the support and I never dreamed I would do it again. It’s really a once in a lifetime experience,” he added, further stating that he wasn’t intent on adding his name to the pool but for the technical issues the Texas GOP convention faced — throwing a wrench into the typical procedure for nominations.
“It’s an incredible experience more people need to have.”
Secretary of State Ruth Hughs called the body to order, followed by various ceremonial invocations, and apogee with the signing of certificates of vote by the electors.
Hughs said, convening the body, “For 175 years, Electors from our state have cast their votes on behalf of the electorate. I am honored to call today’s meeting of Texas’ Electors to order as we continue in this tradition and fulfill the duties with which the people of the Lone Star State have entrusted us.”
The ceremonial vote caps off a wild 2020 election in Texas. Texas Democrats touted their “Blue Wave” optimism ever since Beto O’Rourke’s narrow defeat in his 2018 challenge to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Those dancing sugarplum-like visions in Democrats’ heads came crashing back to reality, however, not only as Donald Trump won the state — albeit by a slimmer margin than four years ago — but in their failure to gain any ground on the Texas House makeup.
Their big gain was in Senate District 19 as Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) defeated incumbent Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton), thus eliminating the Texas Senate’s GOP supermajority. It may not matter as Lt. Governor Dan Patrick indicated last week his intention to change the determining threshold.
A “supermajority” can avoid minority filibusters, closing floor debate and bringing bills up for a vote.
Polling inaccuracies skewed perception of how “in play” Texas really was. National polling outfits were collectively more inaccurate in their presidential and senatorial race projections than local outfits. However, the Dallas Morning News’ polling average was the most erroneous of any outfit, national or local, compared to the actual result of the presidential vote in Texas.
The body also adopted a deliberative resolution condemning the United States Supreme Court for dismissing, due to a lack of standing, the Texas-led case against four other states over changes made to their respective elections without consent of the legislatures. The resolution also called for those state legislatures to appoint the electoral college delegates themselves rather than holding to the statewide election result.
Texas is expected to gain at least two, possibly three, congressional districts after a decade of population growth of nearly 5 million. The 2020 census has yet to be completed but Texas’ estimated current population is just shy of 30 million.
The Reapportionment Act of 1929 locked the U.S. House delegation at 435 and from there, with a slight exception for Alaska and Hawaii’s admission to the union, congressional seats, like matter, cannot be created or destroyed — only shifted.
Therefore, Texas’ gain will be another state’s loss based on population shifts, and four years from now, the Lone Star State’s delegation will likely reach 40.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include mention of the body’s resolution of condemnation to the Supreme Court that was passed after the publishing of this article and the quote from Secretary of State Ruth Hughs.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and 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 quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.