Grassroots Organizations: A Force to be Reckoned With in Williamson County Politics

The recent success of Beto O'Rourke in Williamson County has brought to light the power of grassroots organizations in local politics. O'Rourke's narrow victory over Republican Senator Ted Cruz was the first time since the 1980s and 1990s that a federal candidate received the majority of votes in a county that has long been a conservative contrast to Austin's midnight blue liberalism. Kim Gilby, president of the Williamson County Democratic Party, noted that momentum began to build a month after Donald Trump was elected. This growth is attributed to people coming from other states in search of employment opportunities, as well as those leaving Austin.

In order for proposed reorganization rules to be certified to the state president, they must be approved by a majority of the county convention or the CEC. If the TRP Statutes and Rules Subcommittee disapproves the proposed rules before the start of the County Party's reorganization process, the County must follow the procedures set out in this document, unless before the beginning of the reorganization process the SEC overrides the decision of the TRP Statutes and Rules Subcommittee. The county president must then notify the Williamson County Election Commission to call a Republican primary election. The WCRP is governed by the Executive Committee of the Williamson County Republican Party (“CEC”) in accordance with their Bylaws and those of the TRP.

If the county president does not call a meeting, then the state president will appoint a temporary county president to carry out reorganization procedures. The recent election saw Democrat KT Musselman win District 1 justice of the peace, and Democrat Stacy Hackenberg beat Judy Hobbs, a longtime justice of the peace in District 4, by 57 votes in eastern Williamson County. A new group of parents, Williamson Strong, is encouraging Williamson County voters to vote in August. They expressed their support for the school district and their desire to preserve its progress in an open letter to the community.

Despite this success for Democrats, Bill Gravell was chosen as county judge in an open election. This shows that while grassroots organizations can have an impact on local politics, they are not always successful.

Janis Veino
Janis Veino

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