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County GOP holds heated convention, former chair calls incoming chair “scumbag”

March 27, 2024 - 00:00
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A fractured Bandera County Republican Party spent much of Saturday at the Pipe Creek Community Center getting organized for the state convention, beginning first with electing precinct chairs, then electing a permanent convention chair and voting on more than 30 potential resolutions to forward to the state convention.

By precinct, members elected 10 chairs and then hashed out those resolutions for the larger party to consider forwarding to the state convention. But then things grew heated when it came time to elect the permanent convention chair.

Dave Allen and Mark Miller were in the running for the position.

Miller is set to take over as the new party chair after defeating Conrad Striegl in the March Republican primary. He received 3,499 votes to Striegl’s 1,419.

Allen, who did not seek reelection in the county primary, is currently serving as county party’ chairman after he replaced Striegl, who stepped down following a court case.

Striegl had been the party chairman since March 2021, but in September a judge ordered him and then-party Treasurer Cari Rene Leith to resign from their positions after they pleaded no contest to a charge of document fraud.

Striegl and Leith each received probation through December despite Striegl telling the Bulletin following the ruling that “all charges [were] dismissed and records expunged.” Party leaders tried several times to count the votes, which were conducted by a show of hands, but it was difficult as people would put up their hands, then put them down again, making it too close to without an accurate count.

Walking around the Pipe Creek Community Center, Bandera County Republican Women President Darcy Hasty said, “We’re going to make this fair, I don’t care how long it takes.”

Allen pulled ahead by two votes on the final count. During voting, Miller and Striegl exchanged barbs and at one point, Miller pointed at Striegl and said, “This is the problem right here. This is your coach.” Striegl responded to this by calling Miller a “scumbag.”

Allen appointed Leith as secretary and Striegl as the resolutions chair, which upset some in the audience who loudly voiced their unhappiness at the appointments.

“We’re all here for the same purpose. We can have a conversation without raising our voices and calling people names,” said Bandera County Sheriff Dan Butts.

“This is just silly,” said Sergeant at Arms John Mata.

Striegl read through the more 30 resolutions submitted by the 10 precincts and seemed offended when he was asked by several people to speak up or to repeat himself.

A complete list of resolutions was not made available to the Bulletin. Leith said the party was only required to share which resolutions had failed.

Resolutions that garnered near unanimous or unanimous support included those to eliminate property taxes, to prohibit the federal government from interfering with the state’s efforts to defend and secure the border, to abolish abortion, to only recognize marriages between one man and one woman, to allow only heterosexual couples to adopt and to restrict doctors’ from providing gender affirming care to all ages of individuals.

The party’s final act of the local convention was to elect 17 delegates and 17 alternates for the state convention.

A complete list was not made available to the Bulletin.