According to a report from the Houston Chronicle, the Montgomery County Republican Party in one of the deepest red parts of conservative Texas is currently in the throes of a massive battle between traditional GOPers who hope to keep the party open to all-comers and those who have embraced the “no-prisoners: approach of Donald Trump.
The report states that longtime chair Wally Wilkerson — who has led the organization for 56 years — is being forced out against his will by a new generation amped up on “Trump’s in-your-face rhetoric.”
“On March 3, Republican primary voters will choose between [the Tea Party’s Jon] Bouché, a 54-year-old real estate agent, and 44-year-old Bryan Christ, an IT consultant backed by Wilkerson. Whoever wins takes over a party so at odds that each side files its own financial reports,” the Chronicle reports.
The report notes that Wilkerson almost single-handedly built the local Republican party, with former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove labeling him “King Wally” for his endeavors.
But was then and this is now with Tea party believers ascendant within the local GOP hierarchy.
“The tea party had emerged across the country after Barack Obama became president. It caught on in Montgomery County, where a campaign rally for candidate Trump in 2016 drew a boisterous, overflow crowd. More people were riled up over principles that defined their lives — such as the Constitution and biblical values — said Betty Anderson, 72, a precinct chair. She credited Trump with giving them hope< the report states, adding that Wilkerson was appalled by the extremist rhetoric, with one of his supporters stating, “I’ve never seen him get angry with anyone; I’ve never seen him treat anyone with anything less than respect. For him to be going out like this, with this hanging over him, I think is just so unfair.”
What followed was a war for control with the Chronicle reporting, “Wilkerson dug in. He challenged the bylaws, but the Republican Party of Texas upheld them. The county party gave him back some control; he refused to turn over the bank account.”
“If Christ is elected, Wilkerson plans to carry on his party work. Christ is optimistic he can heal the group through sheer will,” the report concludes.
You can read more here.
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