Kevin Price
In Lone Star state, a fight for the GOP's soul
By Kevin Price
June 11, 2010

Races for chair person in any state and any party, does not typically garner much attention. However, in Texas, these are not typical times. This is a time where the establishment is being challenged everywhere and this is especially the case with the GOP race for chair in Texas. This election could set the tone for such races around the country. Long term members of Congress may not be the only ones who are vulnerable. It could easily include the political establishment in general.

In Texas we find a three way race between the incumbent, Cathie Adams of Dallas; Houston attorney and local business leader, Steve Munisteri; and long term GOP activist, Tom Melcher of Amarillo. Each candidate is trying to make the case that they are the future of the Republican party.

What is becoming a major issue in this campaign is the party's terrible debt. reports that last month the party's debt had "ballooned from a low of about $70,000 in 2003 to last year's high of $624,000." It goes on to point out that this is "a sharp contrast to the Texas Democratic Party which has a $49,000 debt." Friends of Adams note that this is a debt she acquired, since she has only held the post for six months. What concerns Melcher and Munisteri, is that little is being said by Adams about how this problem will go away. Melcher, in particular, is making this a primary reason why he should be the next chair of the Republican Party of Texas.

In spite of the buzz about fiscal responsibility (or lack of) in the GOP, there is much more than a ledger sheet that is at the center of this battle and that is the heart of the party itself and what it represents. Munisteri and Adams come to the forefront of this particular debate, in my opinion.

Adams has been a leader in the pro-family movement and is noted for her efforts with her work with Eagle Forum. The Texas GOP has taken pride in the fact that it has stayed true to its pro-family and pro-life roots, while other state GOP's have tried to create distance with social issues. The problem is, the GOP needs to keep the social conservative who work hard in elections they believe in, yet appeal to as many independent voters as possible if it plans on making serious inroads in its efforts to remain the leading party of the state.

The horrible economy and international situation we are in today is making independents, in particular, take a serious look at both parties. What is needed is a party that can appeal to that same "three legged stool" that Ronald Reagan focused on in 1980, which created a transformative moment for the GOP. That stool — based on free enterprise, strong defense, and strong families — made the Republican Party the leading party for several years.

It is this need to for broad base appeal that makes Steve Munisteri the leading candidate, in my opinion, and that is among the reasons I have endorsed him. I have known Munisteri for 30 years and he has been consistently true on the issues that matter most. When he gives a speech, he reminds me a little of "the Gipper" as he makes the case for the GOP. Like Reagan, Munisteri believes that there are huge sectors of the population that would be attracted to a strong message of free market economics, regardless of where one stands on other issues. The other issues (defense or culture) were not nearly as important to this block, but these voters will not likely be deterred by the other areas, as long as a candidate was very strong on economic policies. Munisteri believes that this would be the case when it comes to the other legs of the stool — as long as the GOP is very strong and clear on its positions. This is not a "big tent" approach to the Republican Party, which meant the GOP eventually stood for nothing; but a "smart vehicle" way of bringing huge numbers of new voters to a party that is strong in all of its convictions. The time has come for such a sensible approach to growing a party.

© Kevin Price


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Kevin Price

Kevin Price is Publisher and Editor in Chief of

His background is eclectic and includes years of experience in both business and public policy, as well as two decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He was an aide to U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) and later went on to work in policy areas with some of the nation's leading think tanks including the National Center for Public Policy Research and was part of the Heritage Foundation's Annual Guide to Public Policy Experts... (more)


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