As with all large groups of people, in this case politically active Republican women, opinions are passionate and varied. We like it that way. Some may wish for uniformity in thought but frankly, that is boring. And, it is not very American.
Republican women are leading the change in our party. The good ol’ boy network is slowing expanding to embrace that fact, though we are all too often verbally patted on the head and told, ad naseum, that we Republican women are the backbone of the party, the brains of the party, the workers of the party. All true, of course, but condescending if every single male speaker at a gathering utters the same words. Just acknowledge our work and move along with the speech. We’re cool with that. No need for flowery little nothings.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is retiring so Republican women will lose another member in Congress. There are currently two strong front runners vying for the job – one a Tea Party favorite who has not held elected office and one who has been an elected official for years. The latter has the name recognition and very large bank account.
Texas Federation of Republican Women is the umbrella under which the individual local clubs are organized and governed. I am a current president of a club in Houston and the by-laws do not allow me to endorse in a GOP primary. Campaign activity chairwomen are not allowed to do so, either. So, I’ll wait until my term ends in January 2012 to give an endorsement. Many past presidents have come out already and made their endorsements. Needless to say, both campaigns are touting any of these endorsements.
All I ask is this: keep in mind that Texas Federation of Republican Women is an organization with a membership of over 10,000 women. There are about 164 local clubs. Members range from far right social conservatives to moderate conservative – fiscal conservatives yet not so conservative on social issues. We are just like all organizations. We are a mixed bag.
Greater Houston Council is the umbrella organization of 40 clubs in southeast Texas. In 2011 Greater Houston Council has taken two straw polls during the bi-monthly meetings. One taken in May and one taken in November, Ted Cruz received the most votes as the candidate that embodies the characteristics a member is looking for to support. In May, Lt. Gov David Dewhurst was in second place. The percentages were 45.5% to 36.4%. The same poll asked which of the candidates running would be most likely to win against a Democrat. Dewhurst was ahead in this answer with the percentage over Cruz of 55.2% to 27.6%.
In the straw poll taken recently, Cruz is now ahead in both answers. His lead has opened up in both categories. In the favorite candidate category, he is at 63.4% to Dewhurst’s 24.4%. In the most likely to beat a Democrat, Cruz is ahead 65% to 35%. So, one might think the group has gone more conservative in the chosen favorite.
Maybe not. To the question of who is the favorite in the GOP presidential nominee race, in May Herman Cain was the winner. Now the winner is Newt Gingrich. And, to the question of who would beat President Obama in 2012, Cain was the winner in May yet Gingrich is the winner now. Herman Cain, by the way, is in fourth place in both answers now. Mitt Romney is second for both answers now and Governor Perry comes in third place to both.
So, when you read endorsements, remember to continue to do your own research. Resist the urge to just go with a familar name. It might be time for new names, fresh faces in Washington, D.C.