Reliable Conservative and Former State Representative Matt Rinaldi Will Now Succeed Allen West as Texas Republican Party Chair
The Texas Republican Party now has a strong successor to Allen West as chairman of the party. Former State Representative Matt Rinaldi is taking on the mantle of state chair as West is now running to challenge Governor Greg Abbott in the gubernatorial primaries.
West previously announced his resignation in early June, which prompted a special meeting of the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) to be held on July 11. In that meeting, party leaders voted in favor of Rinaldi to assume the role as the Texas Republican Party leader.
Rinaldi was one of the most conservative elected officials during his time in office from 2015 to 2019. He gained notoriety for being one of the highest profile co-sponsors of Constitutional Carry. Rinaldi arrived in office by first pulling off a significant upset against establishment incumbent Bennett Ratliff in 2014.
Rinaldi’s ascent to state party chair will be great news for conservatives who have generally been disaffected by the Texas GOP’s fecklessness on key policy issues.
Allen West, Rinaldi’s predecessor as state chair, was able to stir things up by being a fierce critic of Governor Greg Abbott’s lackadaisical approach to ending the Wuhan virus lockdowns and his overall inaction on conservative policy items.
In an interview with The Texan, Rinaldi emphasized how he would be working with Republican leadership in Austin on the issues that the party leadership is in agreement with, but also would part ways with Republicans in Austin who are not on the same page with the party platform. Rinaldi said the following:
Of course, we’re gonna reach out, and politicians go through this all the time. You have to have thick skin to be in the business. But yeah, sometimes you’re opposed. And then sometimes you’re working together. And as RPT chair, we do need to come together. Whether I personally endorsed somebody or didn’t before I was RPT chair, now we’re going to work together to make sure that we win in 2022.
Over the course of a year with unprecedented sales of guns and ammo, Texas Republicans finally got the memo that expanding gun rights was in their political interest. Grassroots pressure was key in making Texas the 21st Constitutional Carry state. However, there are still lots of loose ends — property tax reform, taxpayer-funded lobbying, and education reform — that need to be tied.
With Rinaldi at the helm of the Texas Republican Party, Texas is more likely to go on a genuinely conservative route. The key for Texas to stay red is having people like Rinaldi as party leaders.
The days of weak-kneed Republicans controlling the party are over.