SAN ANTONIO — Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey has won re-election, beating back a challenge from longtime activist Cindy Asche after a long and bitter fight on the convention floor Friday.
Dickey got 65 percent of the delegates' votes to Asche's 35 percent at the end of the tumultuous afternoon session. That came hours after delegates delivered 22 of the 31 state Senate districts to Dickey.
"Whether you voted for me this morning, whether you voted for me this afternoon or not, we are all Texas Republicans and we have singular goal in front of us in November: to beat the Democrats," Dickey said in a brief victory speech. "So please, let's now come together, show each other the grace and forgiveness and teamwork that makes us the better party, the better people, the better Texans."
While Dickey won a clear majority of the Senate districts earlier in the day, Asche refused to concede, triggering hours of procedural wrangling inside the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center here. Finally, both candidates' names were placed into nomination, and they were each allowed five-minute speeches to make their final pitch.
Asche used her remarks to announce a bombshell: Jennifer Stoner, the party's longtime accounting director, had just resigned because "she has never seen the level of dishonesty, manipulation and erroneous reporting that she has seen from this chairman and her direct quote was 'He is not trustworthy.'" Asche added that Stoner has promised to return if Dickey did not get re-elected.
Asche's speech did not go over well with the crowd, which drowned her out with boos shortly after she began discussing Stoner.
Speaking before Asche, Dickey did not address Stoner's resignation or the allegations about his fiscal management. But he said it "has been tough to try to unify [the party] while there has been a core faction of folks from prior leadership that were disappointed that they were out and disappointed that they didn't win the election and trying to do everything they can possibly do to overturn" the outcome.
Dickey first took over as state party chairman last year after Tom Mechler, citing personal reasons, gave up the position. Dickey defeated Rick Figueroa, Mechler’s favored candidate to replace him, by a razor-thin margin — 32 votes on the State Republican Executive Committee to 31 for Figueroa.
Asche, who was backed by Mechler, had battled with Dickey over the party’s finances, its censure of retiring GOP House Speaker Joe Straus and even a 2004 securities fraud case involving Dickey. In the home stretch, Asche increasingly questioned the extent of Dickey’s support for President Donald Trump, citing his involvement in the Free the Delegates effort to deny Trump the nomination ahead of the 2016 national convention.
There was also an election Friday to replace the outgoing vice chair, Amy Clark. That job went to Alma Perez Jackson, a veteran activist from Bexar County. She had been up against Fred Rangel, an SREC member from Senate District 26.