The sudden resignation of Texas Republican Party Chair Tom Mechler over the weekend has raised questions about friction within the party. Mechler cited wanting to devote more time to his family and his business in his resignation letter, but also wrote of "a party that is fractured by anger and backbiting," adding, "it is no secret that our party is divided into factions."
State party insiders acknowledge that there is always some divisiveness in the party, but don't believe Mechler had ulterior motives in stepping down. "It's not something stemming from a direct issue with the party or anything like that, it's just the simple fact that he needed to be with his family now," says Michael Joyce, spokesman for the Texas GOP. Joyce tells KTRH that after two years on the job, Mechler was likely burned out. "Everything you do is heavily scrutinized," he says. "You're an unpaid volunteer, it's a very demanding and taxing position, and frankly almost impossible to make every person happy with every decision you make."
The State Republican Executive Committee will elect a new chair at its next meeting June 3. But don't expect Harris County GOP Chair Paul Simpson to throw his hat in the ring. "It's not on my horizon right now," says Simpson. "We've got a lot to do here in Harris County as we always do, being sort of ground zero in the fight for Texas, so I'm happy to keep plugging away here."
However, Simpson does know what qualifications he'd like to see in the next state chair. "Somebody who can lead the party with a conservative vision and expand to lots of new communities---we're a very diverse state---so someone who can do that as well as be able to raise significant money and work with all different groups in the party," he says.
One of the stated candidates is Rick Figueroa of Brenham, who is a member of President Donald Trump's Hispanic Advisory Council. Other reported candidates are Travis County Republican Party Chair James Dickey and Mark Ramsey of Spring, a State Republican Executive Committee member.