Texas delegates at the Republican National Convention are hard to miss. In matching light cowboy hats, and a different coordinating shirt, scarf or tie each day- they are a force to be reckoned with. On their final night, Pasadena delegate Rex Teter wore more than just his requisite Lone Star flag shirt and dungarees.
“Bush 2004 cowboy boots- it’s got the state of Texas emblem in the middle of them. I’ve got good ol’ blue jeans. I’ve got my Rex supports McCain-Palin, McCain Country First button.
Bob Long of Bastrop is the Chaplain for the Texas Delegation. He says all the other delegates look to Texas for leadership.
“We’re the second largest delegation here and Texas has always been special. Everybody wants our stuff. You know, they want to know, do you have a Texas pin to give us? People look to Texas. And one of the things, Texas has the most conservative platform in the nation, and the national platform this time is very close to the Texas platform. And we’re excited about that.”
That being said, leadership at the top of the GOP is starting shift. Both Bush Presidents, and former House Majority Leaders Dick Armey and Tom DeLay have epitomized Texan dominance in the Republican Party. But ‘times are a-changin.’ The embattled DeLay was only seen at events outside of the official convention. Nelva Urick of Alvin was disappointed she missed him.
“I haven’t seen Tom DeLay. I hope he”s here. He’s a very good friend of mine. He was our Congressman. Very proud of him. We stand behind him.”
Not everyone feels the same way. The former Sugar Land Congressman has not been welcomed by the McCain camp. But DeLay is not the only one who has lost some of the spotlight. Texas Governor Rick Perry was scheduled to address the Convention along with President Bush on Monday night. Both cancelled to deal with Hurricane Gustav. Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was supposed to speak Wednesday, but was bumped to Thursday. Then she was scratched altogether to fit in other speakers whose slots had been cancelled due to the Hurricane. Senator John Cornyn left the Convention Monday morning. Now it’s states like Arizona and Alaska who provide the national leaders. Pasadena delegate Teter says Texas will rise again.
“It’ll probably be different, but we have two very strong Texas Senators. We have a great Congressional Delegation in DC, so I don’t think we’re gonna be forgotten. I think we’re still gonna have influence that hopefully very well recieved and hopefully we’ll do it the right way as well. We haven’t lost our mojo we’re doing well.”
McCain has kept a consistent ten point lead in Texas. Senator John Cornyn has been leading his Democratic challenger Rick Noriega by a similar margin. But Democrats say they have a good chance to pick up seats in the legislature. Either way, Texas Republican delegates have led their Convention.
From Capitol News Connection, Jodi Breisler, KUHF-Houston Public Radio.