The Texas GOP has its convention this week in San Antonio.
More than 17,000 people are expected to descend on the Convention Center beginning Thursday for three days of party-building through speeches, rallies and elections.
Officials say it is the largest political convention in the country, with nearly three times as many delegates as the Republican National Convention.
In the absence of a mobilizing presidential race, Texas Republicans instead are focusing on statewide contests.
The race for Texas governor in 2006 is expected to tinge the atmosphere at this year's convention. Gov. Rick Perry faces potential opposition from state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who hasn't defused rumors that she's interested in the state's highest elected office.
All three are scheduled to speak at the event.
"That is obviously going to lie below the surface, but it won't necessarily be a referendum on what could happen in 2006," former Texas Republican Party Chairwoman Susan Weddington said. "People are extremely focused on re-electing George Bush and on sending a congressional delegation to Washington that would be majority Republican."
Although the convention is taking place against the geopolitical backdrop of the war in Iraq, the focus of this week's convention likely will be on housecleaning within a state party that some say is beginning to show cracks.
"The Republican Party has a lot of things to worry about," said Char Miller, a history professor at Trinity University. "We've already gone through four special (legislative) sessions with very little movement on the critical issue of education funding, and the party really has to wrestle with that issue. Internally, they're battling."
Additionally, Miller said, the disarray that has reigned within the Democratic Party for so long is slowly being supplanted by signs of unity.
"The confusion is what the Republicans have used to keep themselves in power, but there seem to be some re-awakenings in the Democratic Party, and it opens up the possibility that the Democrats could move into power," he said.
The event will feature many state and national Republican officials, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Reps. Henry Bonilla and Lamar Smith.
State party spokesman Ted Royer said a blanket invitation has been made to the Bush administration, but no one has confirmed attendance from anyone there.
"We'd love to have the president, we'd love to have the first lady, we'd love to have the vice president, but we realize they have to allocate resources where they are best spent," he said.
"Texas is such a strong Bush state that they might decide their time is better spent elsewhere."
Anyway, this ought to provide a little light entertainment before the Dem convention in two weeks. If they get around to updating their official state party platform - Lord knows I've spent many a night lying awake thinking about how we could get the Panama Canal back - that would be even better.
Via Free State Standard.Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 01, 2004 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack