The Texas Republican Convention Platform and Resolutions Committee rejected resolutions to censure U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Reps. Kay Granger, Kenny Marchant and Michael Burgess for their votes for omnibus spending bills.
The defeat of the resolutions came on a voice vote that may have been unanimous but sounded like it might have included one muted “aye.”
The overwhelming sentiment would seem to lay to rest any possibility that the biennial Texas Republican Convention would make headlines by censuring the number two Republican in the U.S. Senate.
It is still possible it could be revived on the floor, but that now sees unlikely.
However, it is appears the convention will protect its prerogative to censure public officials who violate the basic precepts of the platform under what is known as Rule 44.
Platform Committee Chairman Mark Ramsey reported that there was extensive debate last night by the Rule Committee on whether to weaken the Rule 44 censure provision.
“All amendments were soundly defeated,” and further debate on any other changes to Rule 44 was ended with virtual unanimity.
Earlier, a resolution to invoke a Rule 44 censure against retiring state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, a top lieutenant to House Speaker Joe Straus, failed by a single vote, 15 for and 16 against.
In the debate on Cook, some members of the committee said it appeared the party was forming a “circular firing squad” and getting between a representative and his constituents.
Pastor Stephen Broden of SD 23, to audience applause, responded, “I understand the need for unity, but sometimes we have to excise those who are disruptive to that unity.” He cited Benedict Arnold and the atomic spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg as examples.
The Rule 44 censure provision, created by the 2016 convention, has only been employed once, but famously so. In January, the State Republican Executive Committee voted 44-19 vote to censure House Speaker Joe Straus, who had already announced he was not seeking re-election.
The voted surpassed the threshold requirement that two-thirds of the 64 committee members — two from each of the 31 Senate districts, plus the chair and vice chair — approve the resolution for it to be enacted, thanks to the decisive votes of James Dickey, the party chairman, and vice chair Amy Clark.
Dickey’s praise for Cornyn was invoked in the debate over whether to censure him.
Dickey is being challenged for re-election as chairman at the convention by Cindy Asche, who has said that the censure provision should not have been invoked against Straus and should be curtailed.