At their state convention last week, the Texas Young Republican Federation passed a resolution formally ending their partnership with the Republican Party of Texas.
In a statement signed by Texas Young Republican Federation Chairman Emeritus Joacim Hernandez and Chairman Derrick Wilson, the Young Republicans cited Republican Party of Texas State Chairman Matt Rinaldi’s “troubling actions” against their organization as playing a role in their decision to end their formal partnership with the Republican Party of Texas.
“The Texas Young Republican Federation (TYRF) has officially revoked its Partner status with the Republican Party of Texas (RT) following a series of troubling actions against its leadership and organization. This decision reflects the sentiments expressed during the 2023 Texas Young Republican Federation State Convention, and as an amendment in our bylaws report unanimously adopted by the convention,” said the statement.
Rinaldi’s involvement in what was described as a “Smear Campaign” against former Texas Federation of Young Republicans Chairman Hayden Padgett was also cited by the Young Republicans in their decision to cut ties with the Texas GOP.
Padgett was a candidate for Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation at their national convention last weekend, running against Jessi Rapelje Blakely of Virginia. Rinaldi publicly endorsed Blakely against Texan Padgett, with Rinaldi recording a video and writing an endorsement letter on behalf of Blakely. The resolution passed by the Texas Young Republican Federation called into question Rinaldi’s endorsement of Blakely, stating, “Chair Rinaldi’s choice to endorse the opposing candidate who actively supports ideals contrary to Texas and the Texas Republican Party Platform has brought shame to the good name of the Republican Party of Texas.” Blakely has expressed
The resolution also accused Rinaldi of being involved in a “campaign to discredit and demean the reputation of Mr. Padgett and the Texas Young Republicans” and then being dishonest about his role, alleging that “Chair Rinaldi not only voiced his endorsement, he actively sought opposition research from scandalous sources and when directly asked about such comments and research he denied that he had participated, despite TYRF leadership having direct knowledge and text message proof of said opposition research.”
Padgett defeated Blakely by a vote of 575-127 to become the new Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation. According to sources present at the Texas Young Republicans state convention, the resolution to condemn Rinaldi and end the organization’s partnership with the Republican Party of Texas passed overwhelmingly on a voice vote.
Although Rinaldi allegedly refused to use the Republican Party of Texas e-mail list to promote Texas Young Republicans or Young Republican National Federation conventions, Rinaldi has routinely used the Republican Party of Texas e-mail list to disparage Republican legislators. In a recent e-mail, Rinaldi promoted a film recently released by Texas Scorecard, which falsely accuses the Texas House of being run by Democrats. The Texas Voice recently reported on factually inaccurate reports about State Representative Stephanie Klick that Texas Scorecard published.
Under Rinaldi’s tenure as Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, the Party has become increasingly dependent on large donations from funding sources closely tied to Texas Scorecard and other organizations that exist primarily to attack Republican candidates and officeholders.
The film promoted by Rinaldi omitted the many recent victories for Republicans in the legislature, including the passage of constitutional carry of firearms, banning abortion, record property tax cuts, banning child gender modification, protecting the integrity of Texas elections, halting regulatory abuses by local governments, banning inappropriate materials from Texas schools, and record funding for border security among other policy achievements.
Chapters and leaders within the Texas Young Republicans were also critical of Rinaldi’s divisive tenure as Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.
The Austin Young Republicans, in a post on Twitter, stated, “Texas Party officials should stop leading from behind. We’re just not going to wait anymore for the Party to get things done, or raise money for election and policy victories. YRs are the NOW of the Party, not the doormat,” while another tweet added that the Texas GOP is “broke and attack[s] their volunteers in their free time” and “Support your voter elected Republican candidates. Beat Dems. Don’t be weird.”
Matt Wiltshire, who previously served as National Committeeman within the Texas Young Republican Federation, tweeted to Rinaldi, “You habitually surround yourself with some of the worst people in the GOP. You have no interest in helping all Republicans win, you only care about knifing the Republicans you don’t like. That’s pretty toxic in my book.”
Since the Texas Young Republicans have announced the end of their partnership with the Republican Party of Texas, there has been increased interest in forming new Young Republican chapters across Texas. The Texas Young Republicans have also announced a robust policy agenda, which they plan to work on in conjunction with Republican members of the Texas legislature.