A battle is brewing within the Travis County Republican Party after a controversial candidate for county chair won the election by 6,000 votes.
Now, other members of the Travis County Republican Party say they will do everything they can to boot the new chair out of office.
Robert Morrow said the only reason he ran for chair of the republican party is because the incumbent, James Dickey, told his friends not to vote for him as Republican Precinct Chair two years ago.
Other members of the Travis County Republican Party are afraid that since Morrow won the election he will have a negative impact on GOP races in the county.
Robert Morrow, who co-wrote the book, “The Clinton’s War on Women,” has been a controversial political activist in Travis County for several years. His social media posts often call out past political leaders using derogatory and vulgar language.
“I often have a caustic way of expressing myself, but I tell a lot of truth. Number one, in a way people won't even tell the truth to begin with, and also, I do it in a caustic way to kind of grab people's attention,” Morrow said.
When Morrow decided to run for Travis County Republican Party Chair, other appointed members hoped he would crash and burn, but they were wrong.
“When they get down to county chair they just pick the first name they see. So you don't need Karl Rove or David Axelrod to be your political adviser if you're listed first on the ballot,” said Morrow.
“I hoped it wouldn't come to this, unfortunately, it has. He takes office June 13 if he chooses to do so. So we have three months to figure out what we're going to do,” said Vice Chair of the Travis County Republican Party, Matt Mackowiak.
Mackowiak said what he wants to do is remove Morrow from the chair position. In the meantime, he will constrain Morrow in any way possible.
“Number one, they have no legal recourse and, number two, Matt Mackowiak, whoever his name is, he'll be fired first thing as vice chair of the Travis County Republican Party as soon as I take over,” said Morrow.
“He can try to get rid of me in June. If he does and he's successful that's fine. What I can tell you is, if we are not successful in preventing him from taking over, we are going to start an alternate organization in Travis County that does what this party should be doing. We will do it for the next two years and I will run against him two years from now and I will defeat him at that time,” Mackowiak said.
Mackowiak said he will be looking over state party bylaws and county party bylaws to find a way to oust the newly elected chair.
However, state law says the only way to remove a county party chairman is if they are convicted of a felony and have exhausted all appeals.
“Unless the Legislature is willing to pass a law next session, which we may look at that as an option, we're not going to have an immediate option to get rid of him,” said Mackowiak.
Mackowiak said Morrow's borderline slanderous social media posts about the Bush family, the Clinton's and other past presidents could hurt other Republican candidates down the line.
“This is about making sure our leaders represent the party effectively; that they're not a distraction, that they're not controversial, that they're not vulgar, and that, unfortunately, is what Mr. Morrow's entire adult record has shown,” Mackowiak said.
“The Republican Party in Travis County is basically a neutered gerbil to begin with. How could they be more powerless than they already are? Come on,” Morrow responded.
Although the fight between members of the party may be far from over, Mackowiak vows to do anything he can to save Travis County Republicans from Morrow's reputation.
“This is going to be miserable for him if he wants to go forward with it,” said Mackowiak.
The Travis County Democrats released this statement about Robert Morrow taking over leadership:
“…Local GOP officials, including TCRP Vice Chair Matt Mackowiak, are scrambling to save face and implement damage control, but they only have themselves to blame. This is the result of decades of the GOP dog whistling dixie and exploiting the fears of an aging majority that feels they are losing their privileged social status…”
Morrow said he will not tone down his rhetoric on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. He said he considers himself a libertarian and a conspiracy theorist and he would like to move the Travis County Republican Party towards libertarian ideals during his two years in office.
Morrow won with 54 percent of the vote over incumbent James Dickey.