CLEBURNE – Republican electors will be asked to make the rare call in March in an opposed race to determine party leadership.
Pete Wrench, who was appointed this fall to replace Chairman Henry Teich, is being opposed for Johnson County Republican Party chairman by Robin Wilson. Teich resigned to seek the party's nomination for state representative.
The race was among those featured Tuesday during a forum hosted by the Johnson County Republican Women at the Cleburne Conference Center. Election Day is March 4. Early voting will be offered from Feb. 18 to 28.
"I'm pro-life, pro-second amendment and a very strong supporter of the Republican platform and the Tea Party principles," Wrench said. "I believe that very many of our problems can be solved by examining and applying the ideas in our party platform and the Tea Party philosophy."
With Wilson's leadership, the GOP would take a turn in its visibility, she said.
"We need to be out there at community events," Wilson said. "We need to be an informational hub for people to learn about our party platform."
Wrench touted that under his leadership no Democrat filed for a county office.
"I'm real happy about that," he said. "I think you should be too."
It is a commitment Wilson said she's prepared to make.
"I have a passion for keeping Johnson County red," she said.
Both candidates have a wealth of experience in supporting the party as it has held elections and by supporting candidates on the ballot, they said.
Wrench has served for the past 20 years as a precinct chair, election judge and has attended state and county conventions.
"I'm qualified to run the county party and to lead us into the future," he said.
Wilson has served as a fundraising leader for the party, at state delegate conventions and as an election judge and clerk.
"I started with the Tea Party and was immediately approached by someone who said we need precinct chairs," she said. "It is one of the significant levels where you can start in politics."
Each candidate was asked for their position on making endorsements.
"I will not endorse any candidate for office in a contested Republican primary [in Johnson County]," Wrench said, noting his support for former JCRP Chairman Dan Hunt for district attorney in another county.
"I don't feel that the party chair is someone who should endorse a candidate in the primary," Wilson said. "I feel the county chair and the party itself should support all of the candidates to move forward and present themselves in the best light that they can. It's up to them to make sure people are informed. It's up to us to put them in front of those people."
Wilson twice discussed diversity in the Republican Party and called for members at the local level to work together toward a common mission.
"It's hard sometimes when you have division. I don't see the Republican party as wanting to be divided," she said. "There's a lot of divisiveness in the Republican Party itself, but I think it has to do with people wanting to look at a direction they can move forward. We all have our ideas. I would like to see people come together and work toward the same goals. There's a lot of fantastic people in Johnson County. We have a majority; we need to keep it."
The party chairman has three objectives, according to Wrench, to manage the primary election, organize the county convention and to lead executive committee meetings.
"The purpose of the Republican Party is to elect officials – men and women – to serve in office who implement our principles, espousing the Republican Party platform," Wrench said. "It's not enough to just elect people, we have to elect people who will follow what our principles are."