The presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz exposed deep divisions in the Republican Party. The evidence of that can be found in local politics, too.
With less than three months before the presidential election, the Dallas County GOP has no leader and no money. The party precinct leaders will choose one of three candidates on Monday as the new county chairman.
Elizabeth Bingham, Philip Huffines and Davin Bernstein are the three people who want to save the Dallas County Republican Party.
“This is a big deal. The life of the GOP party, the county party is on the line,” said Republican Political Strategist Vinny Minchillo. “This is a microcosm of Texas politics. And so rather than being Republicans versus Democrats, it’s a little bit of Republican-on-Republican violence, if you will.”
“What you've got statewide in Texas is a two-to-one tea party majority within the Republican primary electorate,” explained SMU Professor Cal Jillson. “The party's in a lot of danger.”
Elizabeth Bingham, former party vice-chair, is considered the GOP mainstream.
Philip Huffines is the Tea Party choice and could take the GOP farther right.
Davin Bernstein doesn’t have the experience of Bingham or the name recognition of Huffines, whose twin brother is a state senator.
“I know most of our donors personally,” said Huffines. “And they’ve mentioned to me how important that our party is unified, and that’s what I’m going to focus on.”
“We have factions that feel very strongly, and I understand that,” said Bernstein. “But I am the person who can come together and can meet with both sides.”
“We need someone who doesn't need on-the-job learning, someone who can bring us the money immediately, but also knows what to do with it,” said Bingham.
When newcomer Mark Montgomery defeated Wade Emmert for the chair of the party, the money coming in stopped.
There was about $35,000 in the bank when Montgomery took office. When he resigned, there was less than $200.