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3 Things To Watch At The Texas Republican Convention

Delegates at the Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, in 2014.
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune
Delegates at the Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, in 2014.

Thousands of Republicans are in San Antonio this week for the state convention. They'll bring plenty of red, white and blue clothing – along with elephant hats. But in the midst of the spectacle, there's work getting done by party officials and delegates. Here's a little checklist of what to watch for over the next three days.

A major reason for having a party convention is to get the party activists excited about the next election. The delegates in San Antonio are the people who will be most likely to knock on doors, make phone calls and donate to candidates.

KUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Ben Philpott about the Texas Republican Convention

This is especially important for a party which has, in almost every race, easily won statewide elections. Texas Democrats currently have no power to push things like gun control or an expansion of the Affordable Care Act. But there will be plenty of speeches from San Antonio reminding Republicans that if they don't vote, Democrats could win.

The state party needs to adopt a party platform and elect a leader this week. Both moves could come with a bit of controversy. Current party Chair James Dickey is being challenged by Cindy Asche, a nurse from Frisco. The campaign has been a little nasty, as are most political races.

The Texas GOP platform includes 266 items on topics like education, strengthening the economy and American freedom. Most of those don't get changed much convention to convention. But no matter the party, there's almost always one or two controversial items that come up for a vote. Four years ago, for instance, the state Republican Party added items saying homosexuality is a choice and endorsing therapy aimed at "curing" people of being gay.

Two years ago, then-candidate Donald Trump was not a fan favorite at the Texas state convention. Many in the state GOP wanted Sen. Ted Cruz to win the nomination. And some of the things Trump said about Cruz, like implying that his wife is ugly or that his dad killed Kennedy, didn't endear the party faithful.

But 17 months into President Trump's first term, how do delegates feel about him? And what will the official party line be from the stage?

Copyright 2020 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

Ben Philpott covers politics and policy for KUT 90.5 FM. He has been covering state politics and dozens of other topics for the station since 2002. He's been recognized for outstanding radio journalism by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and twice by the Houston Press Club as Radio Journalist of the Year. Before moving to Texas, he worked in public radio in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Ala., and at several television stations in Alabama and Tennessee. Born in New York City and raised in Chattanooga, Tenn., Philpott graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in broadcast journalism.