Republican Party urged to pull out of complacency

Republican Party urged to pull out of complacency
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 3:33 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2022 at 7:19 PM CST

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - In Deep East Texas, a new congressional district, a bigger state representative district and a slew of Republican challengers are changes voters will notice in the March Republican primary.

Sooner than that if voters choose to vote early beginning February 14.

GOP leaders acknowledge the party is in ‘wake up mode’.

A strong Democratic push in the red state of Texas serves as a wakeup call for state Republicans.

“It’s one of the most critical years I can remember,” said Rhonda Ward.

The president of the Nacogdoches County Republican Women voices a message very similar to what party leaders are expressing statewide.

“I don’t know if it’s a reflection on what wasn’t done, but I think it was reflection of complacency,” said Ward. “I think we got used to Texas being a Republican state, except for many, many years. And we’ve got to work hard to keep it red.”

As Deep East Texas joins a new Congressional district, incumbent Pete Sessions’ challenger Paulette Carson of Trinity County says she saw party problems coming.

“I think we’ve been asleep at the wheel at some point, some time. And this has not happened overnight,” said Carson.

Unity is crucial to the Republican party, but there’s competition within.

“I will fight like hell to keep Texas red,” adamantly spoke from the podium, Rachel Hale, one of three primary candidates for state representative, district 11.

The far right, ultra conservative Republicans aren’t sitting back.

Greg Caldwell of Nacogdoches introduced himself. “I am a Christian, conservative Republican.”

Mark Williams of Shelby County did so in a similar fashion. “I am a very constitutional Christian conservative because I got my little pocket Constitution right here.”

They are three Republican party primary candidates, lined up for State Representative Travis Clardy’s newly redrawn District 11. At least 16 state representatives face challengers. In 2020 only 11 incumbents faced primary challengers, the fewest in 20 years reports the statewide political news organization, ‘The Texan’.

The patriots are appalled they say.

“Our Texas is supposed to be trailblazers. And we are trailing behind Florida and Arkansas, of all places,” said Hale. “And we are saying enough is enough.”

As Republicans regroup, so do Democrats as they fight the most conservative political battles seen in decades. No one can say Texas politics is dull.

Several candidates and their spouses, including representative Travis Clardy, were not present due to testing positive for COVID-19.

A political forum, sponsored by the Nacogdoches County Republican Party will be January 25 at 6 p.m. in the Nacogdoches County Courthouse Annex.

Copyright 2022 KTRE. All rights reserved.