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James Wesolek director Republican Party of Texas, stolen election in 2020

James Wesolek director Republican Party of Texas, stolen election in 2020
Republican state-party delegates in Texas passed a resolution that backed the false claim that former President Donald J. Trump was the victim of a stolen election in 2020.
Texas Republicans vote for a far-right platform that says Biden shouldn't have been elected.

The platform, which was voted on at the Republican state party convention in Houston, was the latest sign that conservatives in Texas are moving further to the right.

As part of its official party platform, the Texas Republican Party made a number of far-right statements over the weekend. It said that President Biden was not legally elected, "rebuked" Senator John Cornyn for his work on bipartisan gun legislation, and called being gay "an abnormal lifestyle choice."

At the state party's convention, which ended on Saturday in Houston, votes were taken on the platform.

James Wesolek, the communications director for the Republican Party of Texas, said that the delegates voted by voice vote to approve the resolutions about Mr. Biden and Mr. Cornyn. Statements about homosexuality and other positions on abortion that said students should "learn about the humanity of the preborn child" were among the more than 270 planks that were approved by a platform committee and voted on by the larger group of convention delegates using paper ballots. On Sunday, the results of these votes weren't known yet, but Mr. Wesolek said it was rare for a plank to be rejected by the whole convention after it had been approved by a committee.

The resolutions that backed the false claims that former President Donald J. Trump was the victim of a stolen election in 2020 and the other declarations were the latest signs that Texas Republicans have moved further to the right in recent months. Republicans control both chambers of the legislature, the governor's mansion, and every statewide office. They have used their power to pass tough anti-abortion laws, cause problems in the supply chain by temporarily adding more state inspections at the border, and renominate the Trump-backed state attorney general over a Bush family member in a primary runoff in May.

Mr. Wesolek disagreed with the idea that the declarations had anything to do with the state party's tendency to the right. Mr. Wesolek said on Sunday, "That was what the body wanted." "We're proud to be a party of regular people."

At times, Texas state party conventions have been places where disagreements within the party have been shown to the public. In 2012, Gov. Rick Perry was loudly booed at the state Republican convention when he said he would back the powerful lieutenant governor over Ted Cruz in a contested primary for the Senate. On Friday, people at the convention booed Mr. Cornyn when he tried to reassure Republicans that the new gun laws would not take away their rights. He is a key negotiator in the gun talks with Democrats.

Last week, in Washington, Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, talked about gun violence at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Last week, in Washington, Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, talked about gun violence at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

In a resolution supporting the false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, the state party said that "substantial election fraud in key metropolitan areas significantly changed the results in five key states in favor of" Mr. Biden. The resolution said that the state party did not accept "the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and we hold that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States."

The resolution told Republicans to "show up to vote" in November and to "bring your friends and family, volunteer for your local Republicans, and overwhelm any possible fraud."

Steve Toth, a Republican who is a state representative for part of Houston suburb Montgomery County, said he left the convention before voting on the resolutions, but he said he supports them. He said he hoped the Biden resolution would "get Republicans and Democrats to work together and ask for a forensic audit" of the 2020 election.

A Republican delegate from Houston named Jason Vaughn, who is 38 years old, said that the "show up to vote" language in the Biden resolution was his idea. Mr. Vaughn said, "My fear is that if we keep telling people the election was stolen, they won't go vote."

Mary Lowe, a delegate from the suburbs of Fort Worth who was there to talk about education issues, said she was surprised that her Republican colleagues were talking a lot about the results of the 2020 election. She also said, "I don't know many people who thought Biden won."

Ms. Lowe, who is the leader of the Moms for Liberty chapter in Tarrant County, said she was one of the delegates who spoke out against Mr. Cornyn. But she said that the booing made her feel bad and that she didn't join in.

"I don't think it's nice to boo," Ms. Lowe said. "I think elected officials should be treated with the right amount of respect."

Jamie Haynes, a Republican delegate who lives in the Texas Panhandle with her husband and says they own "a lot of guns," said that the boos at Mr. Cornyn showed that there was a "resounding strong opinion that Republicans do not want their gun rights shaved, not just taken away, but even just shaved in any way."

The resolution that was passed at the convention to scold Mr. Cornyn was against "red flag" laws, which let guns be taken away from people who are thought to be dangerous. The resolution says that these laws "violate the right to due process and punish people before they have been found guilty."

Mr. Vaughn, an openly gay member of the platform committee who voted against the plank, said that it was passed by a vote of 17 to 14.

In a video of the committee meeting, he said, "It doesn't help us move forward as a party or get more voters." In an interview, Mr. Vaughn said that the change at the convention was caused by a small number of people who "make the process miserable because they want to do all this extreme, far-right stuff."

Mr. Toth disagreed and said that the Republican Party has always stuck to its conservative principles when it comes to abortion, gay rights, and the 2020 election. "Defense of marriage? Abortion? First Amendment? He asked, "Where did we go to the right?" "The Republicans have always been strong supporters of family values that are based on the Constitution."

Representative Colin Allred, a Democrat from Texas, called the actions of the Republican Party "regressive."

Mr. Allred said in a statement, "The Texas Republican Party is trying to take us back to a time when women couldn't make their own decisions about their bodies and when Americans lived in fear of being punished for being themselves."


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