The Associated Press
Republicans have dominated Texas politics for 22 years, winning every statewide office and shaping the state’s conservative policies.
It’s hard to imagine any of that electoral success without the effort of Republican women, who with their organizations and political clubs provide fuel for the campaigns of GOP candidates across the state.
“Republican women win elections,” said Dianne Edmondson, former chairwoman of the Denton County Republican Party and a state district director for the Texas Federation of Republican Women. “It’s the most powerful political organization in the state.”
On Thursday, the Texas Federation of Republican Women’s 31st Biennial Convention begins in Dallas. More than 800 delegates are expected for the three-day event at the Omni Dallas Hotel and Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
Along with the delegates, a who’s who of Republican elected officials will address the convention, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.
“The TFRW is nationally recognized as one of the most active and effective Republican women’s groups in the nation,” Abbott, who will address the group Saturday, said in a prepared statement. “It was through their efforts that my campaign won the women’s vote by double digits in 2014, and I am confident that with their continued help, we will do even better in 2018.”
Other elected officials agreed.
“They are very helpful to all of the elected officials,” said Dallas Rep. Linda Koop, whom Republican women helped elect to the state House in 2014.
The convention comes as Republicans are gearing up for the March primaries, where there are expected to be competitive races for the Texas House and Senate.
The Texas Federation of Republican Women doesn’t get involved in primary elections, though members can support candidates on their own.
But the 62-year-old group and its affiliates are heavily engaged in general elections, where some Republicans will need them most.
In North Texas, Democrats are expected to mount strong challenges in several House districts. They are also targeting Senate seats held by Republican Konni Burton of Colleyville and Don Huffines of Dallas.
And national and local Democrats want to seize the 32nd Congressional District seat held by Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas.
Local conservatives say the work of Republican women will be critical to the GOP’s success in 2018.
“These are hard working ladies that you can rely on to get work done and support conservative candidates,” said Ashley Dawn Moretti, executive director of the Dallas County Republican Party and a member of a local Republican women’s club. “I count on them during election time to recruit precinct chairs, knock doors, phone bank, and coordinate volunteers. Plus they encourage Republican women to run for office up and down the ballot.”
Edmondson said the women in red will be ready. In the last election cycle, Republican women contributed a combined 2 million hours to campaign work, group leaders say.
“It’s an action-oriented group,” she said. “They just don’t meet, greet and eat, they get things done.”