With early voting for the 2018 primary elections in Texas just 39 days away, The Texas Tribune is hitting the road to learn more about what GOP voters want from their party leaders — and from the race to replace the speaker of the House — in the next legislative session.
Texas is the country’s biggest red state, with more than 50 percent of its voters casting a ballot for President Donald Trump in 2016. But the 2017 legislative session revealed deep divisions in the Texas GOP, with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, sparring over a contentious “bathroom bill,” property taxes and other issues. In October, Straus had announced that he wouldn’t be running for re-election in 2018. A string of Republican U.S. House members followed suit.
According to the latest Texas Tribune/University of Texas poll, Texas Republicans are split on their current leadership. Polling also showed that the Tea Party remains influential with Texas voters, with 16 percent saying they would vote for a congressional candidate from the Tea Party over a Republican or Democrat if that were an option.
Which brings us to our Republican readers. As part of our ongoing effort to engage people directly affected by state policy, we’re visiting counties across Texas to get your take on how the 2018 midterms may reshape the Texas GOP at home and in Washington — and what you want from your party leaders.
Here’s a list of counties and events we’ll be visiting in the coming weeks:
Jan. 15 — Harris County, San Jacinto Republican Women meeting
Jan. 16 — Bexar County, Hill County Republicans meeting
Jan. 18 — Smith County, Republican Women meeting
Jan. 18 — Smith County, Young Republicans Q&A candidate panel
Jan. 22 — Comal County, Hill Country Tea Party Patriots meeting
Jan. 23 — Tarrant County, Republican National Hispanic Assembly meeting
Jan. 24 — Tarrant County, Republican Club of Southlake meeting
Can’t make it to one of these events?
Source: Texas Tribune Education