Monday, June 05, 2006
League City's own Dr. Robin Armstrong wins Republican Party of Texas Vice Chairman's race
Republican Delegates Tap African-American Physician for State GOP's Number Two Job By Mike Hailey Capitol Inside Editor
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - An African-American physician who grew up in a family of Democrats was chosen Saturday by delegates at the Texas Republican Convention to be the new vice-chairman of the state GOP. Texas Republican Chairwoman Tina Benkiser was re-elected without opposition to a second full term as the state party's top leader before the convention adjourned.
Robin Armstrong - a State Republican Executive Committee member from Dickinson - led the voting for vice-chair in 18 state Senate District caucus meetings while GOPUSA web site owner Bobby Eberle received more support in 13 caucus votes. Eberle conceded the election in a tear-choked speech that he used to express gratitude for the support he'd garnered in the competition for vice-chair and to commend both sides for staying on the high road throughout the race.
More than 4,000 delegates ratified the selection of Benkiser and Armstrong for the state party organization's top two slots in a voice vote from the floor of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio. Armstrong prevailed in the race to replace David Barton as state GOP vice-chair after bypassing an opportunity to take advantage of revelations that Eberle had once hired a reporter who was eventually identified as a former male escort. Eberle said that he wasn't aware of the reporter's past exploits when he'd offered him a position with an online news service that he ran before founding his current web site - and he insisted this week that the story was a non-issue in the state vice-chair's race. Armstrong refused to make it an issue despite assertions by some Republicans who felt it was a legitimate concern to raise in a race against Eberle.
Pausing several times when overcome with emotion, Eberle called the race "a class act" from start to finish while acknowledging defeat once the outcome was obvious. Eberle said he and his supporters had done everything they could to bring people together and to get out the message he sought to convey during the race. Armstrong was generally viewed as the more conservative choice in the competition for vice-chair - and that perception was reinforced when GOP leaders such as former state chairs Fred Meyer and George Strake endorsed Eberle.
Armstrong suggested to reporters that he'd been compelled to join the GOP as a result of his conservative views on abortion, school choice and other issues. In a state where about nine out of every 10 black voters tend to support Democrats in political contests, Armstrong gives the state GOP more evidence to point to in its quest to bring more minority voters into the fold.
The new state party vice-chairman is the fourth African-American to win an election to a high-profile political position in Texas in recent years. Three African-American Republicans - Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson and Supreme Court member Dale Wainwright - currently hold statewide offices. But while African-Americans have won statewide as Republicans in Texas and held high-level positions in President George W. Bush's cabinet, there are no black Republicans in the Texas Legislature or the state's congressional delegation.
The U.S. House has one Hispanic Republican member from Texas - and the GOP's only Hispanic state legislator in Texas lost a bid for re-election in this year's primary vote. But Armstrong suggested that minority voters embrace conservative positions on key issues - and he vowed to be active in outreach efforts in order to help
the Republican Party expand its base in Texas.
Armstrong - who paid his political dues with stints as a precinct chair, election judge and convention delegate - is a doctor on the staff at the Mainland Medical Center in Texas City and an assistant clinical internal medicine professor. He's married to a physician - Martha Armstrong - and has two sons.
Barton was forced to give up the vice-chairman's job after eight years as a result of term limits.
Robin Armstrong has clearly proven that he views this position as a chance to serve and to further our conservative causes. Great day for the Texas GOP!
Mike Hailey said it in his article, but I absolutely concur. It is a great day for the Texas GOP.
Keep up the good work in Brazoria County, your leadership of the local party is noticed and appreciated.
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