by Greg Harrison
A Republican Party chairman known for his controversial statements and antics has been officially removed as the party’s head, per a press conference held Friday morning.
In the conference, Executive Vice Chairman David Duncan explained that the acceptance of Robert Morrow’s filing as a write-in candidate for President of the United States rendered him ineligible to simultaneously hold the office of Travis County Republican Party Chairman.
“Section 161.005 of the Election Code states the qualifications to be a county chairman or precinct chairman,” Duncan explained, “one of those qualifications is that you cannot hold or be a candidate for certain elected offices; County, State, or Federal offices. Obviously, President is a Federal office.”
“The moment that you file, that is tantamount to a letter of resignation. In other words, the vacancy is immediate, just as if he resigned. And so, effectively we really haven’t had a chairman since August 19th, although we didn’t actually have evidence of it until a couple days ago.”
In March, Robert Morrow was elected Chairman of the Travis County Republican Party by winning 56 percent of the vote. Following that victory, Morrow wasted no time gaining national spotlight for making a mockery of the elected position by frequently showing up to events wearing a motley hat and often making intentionally inflammatory statements on social media.
Morrow’s cavalier (and more often than not, controversial) approach attracted the ire of longtime party loyalists, who felt his antics damaged party efforts.
As the leader of the Travis County GOP, Morrow seemed to have little appetite for actually performing the duties of the office for which he was elected. Instead, Morrow’s chief concern was to bring attention to major conspiracy theories he felt were unaddressed.
Combined with Morrow’s social media presence, the efforts drew criticism from the Travis County GOP. Shortly after his taking office, Morrow was censured and stripped of most of his acting authority as chairman via the establishment of a steering committee.
“I wish him luck on his bid for President,” HD 46 Republican candidate Gabriel Nila joked near the end of the conference.
With the immediate vacancy, Executive Vice Chairman David Duncan will assume the role as acting chairman. When asked if he would consider running for Chairman in a more permanent capacity, Duncan expressed uncertainty.
“The decision will be made by the executive committee which is composed of all the precinct chairs,” Duncan replied. “I have not made a decision yet as to whether or not I will be a candidate for that position – I’m consulting with members of the steering committee about that right now… The decision to run for the permanent chairmanship of the party is something that I have to consider very carefully and very closely, and I want to seek the advice of my friends, of wiser people in the Republican Party, and also of my wife and the rest of my family. This is a very big decision for us.”
As for Morrow? He says he will address the issue after winning the presidency.