|Governor of Texas||Greg Abbott|
|Lieutenant Governor of Texas/President of the Senate||Dan Patrick|
|Speaker of the House||Dennis Bonnen|
|Headquarters||PO Box 2206|
Austin, Texas 78768
|National affiliation||Republican Party|
|Texas House of Representatives|
|Statewide Executive Offices|
|U.S. House of Representatives|
The Republican Party of Texas (RPT) is the affiliate of the United States Republican Party and the dominant political party in the U.S. state of Texas. Its chair is Allen West, and its vice chair is Cat Parks. The RPT is headquartered in Austin and is legally classified as a political action committee whose structure is determined by state law.
The Republican Party developed dramatically in Texas during Reconstruction after constitutional amendments freeing the slaves and giving suffrage to black males, as blacks joined the party that had ensured the end of slavery. African-American leaders, frequently men of mixed race who had been free and educated before the war, provided leadership in extending education and work opportunities to blacks after the war. They supported establishment of a public school system for the first time. Men such as William Madison McDonald in Fort Worth, Norris Wright Cuney in Galveston, and Henry Clay Ferguson worked for the black community and the state.
In 1870, Edmund Davis was elected Governor, but was soundly defeated in 1874. In the year 1876, Republicans had made gradual gains in Texas, earning nearly one-third of the statewide vote and electing a small number of candidates to the State Legislature (including several African Americans).
After the Reconstruction era, the Republican Party of Texas gradually lost power, and after the turn of the century, the "Lily Whites" pushed blacks out of power. The Democrats passed disfranchising laws near the turn of the century requiring poll taxes be paid prior to voter registration; together with the party establishing white primaries, black voting dropped dramatically, from more than 100,000 statewide in the 1890s, to 5,000 in 1906. Mexican Americans and poor whites were also adversely affected by such measures. For more than 100 years, the Republicans were a minority party in the state. As a result, the biggest base of electoral support for the Republican Party in Texas during this time was the German Texan community in the Texas Hill Country, with the majority-German Gillespie, Guadalupe and Kendall counties constituting the most Republican counties in the state of Texas throughout the late 19th and into the 20th century.
Between the departing of Robert B. Hawley from his second U.S. House term in 1901 and the seating of Bruce Alger in 1954, the sole Republican to represent Texas in Congress was Harry M. Wurzbach, a politician from the German Texan community in the Hill Country who served in the U.S. House for most of the 1920s and left office in 1931. The first Republican statewide primary was held in 1926, but drew only 15,239 voters. By contrast, the Democratic primary in the same year drew 821,234 voters, as disfranchisement was well established, and Texas was essentially a one-party, white-only voting state. Only two more Republican primaries were run in the next thirty-four years.
In 1961, James A. Leonard became the first executive director of the organization. He is credited as the "architect" of John Tower's successful campaign to fill Lyndon Johnson's vacant U.S. Senate seat, a victory that was a breakthrough in the party's attempts to gain a foothold in Texas politics.
In 1966, two Republicans were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, including future President George H.W. Bush, for the first time since Reconstruction. That same year, three Republicans were elected to the Texas House of Representatives, and the first Republican was elected to the Texas Senate in 39 years. By 1972, Texas Republicans had increased their gains to 17 members of the Texas House and 3 members of the Texas Senate.
The true turning point for Texas Republicans occurred in the May 1976 primary, when Ronald Reagan defeated Gerald Ford by a two-to-one margin in the state's presidential primary. According to former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, due to Reagan's victory in the Texas primary, "the whole shape and nature of the state changed."
104 years after the most recent previous Republican governor, Bill Clements eked out a narrow victory in November 1978. In 1984, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Phil Gramm led a GOP ticket that relied upon the RPT to provide a centralized network of communications. Throughout the rest of the decade, the total Republican vote continued to increase, and the party made large gains in both the state legislature and in local races.
Since 1994, every statewide elected office has been held by a Republican. Both houses of the Texas Legislature feature Republican majorities. The last time Texas was carried by a Democratic presidential candidate was in 1976, when the state voted for Jimmy Carter.
Texas Republicans currently control all elected statewide offices, a majority in the Texas Senate, and a majority in the Texas House of Representatives. Republicans also hold both of the state's U.S. Senate seats and 23 of the state's 36 U.S. House seats.
Out of the 36 seats Texas is apportioned in the U.S. House of Representatives, 23 are held by Republicans, making it the largest Republican delegation in the U.S. House:
Republicans control all nine of the elected statewide offices:
Biannually, in even-numbered years, delegates at the Texas GOP State Convention elect a man and a woman from each of the thirty-one State Senatorial districts to serve a two-year term on the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC). The State Republican Executive Committee along with the elected State Chair and State Vice Chair manage the affairs of the Republican Party of Texas between state conventions.
The party has a number of affiliates and auxiliary organizations, including the Texas Federation of College Republicans, High School Republicans of Texas, Texas Federation of Republican Women (TFRW), Texas Republican County Chairmen's Association, Texas Young Republican Federation (TYRF), Texas Federation for Republican Outreach, Texas Republican Assembly, and Texas Federation of Hispanic Republicans.