How Texas Can Turn Red By Employing a Business Mindset and Winning the Critical Latino and Youth Votes: A Glimpse into the Vision of Ben Armenta, Candidate for Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas

How Texas Can Turn Red By Employing a Business Mindset and Winning the Critical Latino and Youth Votes: A Glimpse into the Vision of Ben Armenta, Candidate for Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas

The Lone Star State is a pivotal battleground in national politics, as the rest of the country looks to Texas in anticipation of its local and federal political decisions. Yet with low morale, dwindling voter turnout and rampant distrust of elected officials, it’s no secret that the movement to turn Texas red is in desperate need of revitalization.

The selection of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) chairman holds immense significance. In this exclusive Q&A interview, we delve into the aspirations, perspectives and strategies of Ben Armenta, a prominent conservative-Republican figure vying for the chairman position.

Armenta differentiates himself as a proud businessman and grassroots candidate. With a firm grasp of the state’s diverse political landscape and a transformative vision for its future, Armenta offers insight into his candidacy and the direction he envisions for the RPT.

 

Q: Please share a bit about your background and how it has prepared you to serve as the potential chairman for the Republican Party of Texas.

A: “I grew up in Round Rock, TX, and I met my wife, Kristi, at A&M University. We’ve lived in the Greater Houston area for around twenty-five years now. I originally started out my career as a teacher, and I eventually got into business, and had a couple companies. I’ve run some very large companies all around the world,” Armenta described.

“I’ve been involved in Republican politics for a while. A lot of grassroots work, helping candidates, and I have served on the board of Hispanic Republicans of Texas doing community outreach out along the Gulf Coast and the Rio Grande Valley, [including] candidate identification and coaching. [Additionally], I started a podcast and advocate for the pro-life movement. I lobby for the Texas Right to Life in Austin.”

“There’s this consistent theme across Texas of Republicans doing great work out on the front lines, but they’re not receiving any support from the state party. No dollars, no resources, no plans. I don’t think it was always like that, but over the last five to six years, it’s really gone that direction. And it has left us vulnerable,” he emphasized.

“We run the party like government, and I believe we need to run the party like business. The chairman’s role is not a role to legislate from. It’s a role to operate from; it’s an operations job, a CEO job.”

“I got in the race because I think it’s time for us to get focused, as a party, on the number one goal. The number one goal is beating the Democrats and winning elections for Republicans. All that other good stuff we want to do as conservatives will come as we win and we grow our party across the state.”

Q: What are the primary challenges that the Texas GOP faces, and how would you address them if elected?

A: Lack of Funding.

“The cash in is the biggest challenge that the Republican party has at this moment,” Armenta stressed. “We ended the last calendar year with only $300 thousand in the general fund. People say, ‘We have over a million dollars.’ That’s not true. When it comes to operations and running the apparatus of the party, we’re effectively broke. There are counties that have more money, there are candidates that have more money. The state party has just not had any discipline in raising money.”

“So, we’ve got to do a bunch of things. We need to put together a fundraising team that raises all across the state of Texas, not just in Austin. And by that, I mean, we should be partnering with each of the counties. We should be doing joint fundraising. I think that there is a business model that exists that we could get into where the Republican party is putting out information through podcasts, through training, through a variety of collateral. We could partner with media and influencers and charge for that. There could be revenue streams coming in that benefit the state party, the local party, and we can raise a ton of money.”

“Raising money is not rocket science. You give money where you believe the individual, the team or the company is going to be a good steward of those dollars. Under my leadership, people are going to see that there’s transparency, [and] they’re going to understand where the money goes. They will have a seat at the table in communicating the things that they’re passionate about and how they want the money to be spent,” he promised.

“If you’re passionate about election integrity, and you want to donate $100 to that, great! We’ve got a program for that. If you’re passionate about candidate coaching, identification and training, great! Let’s go. If you’re passionate about legislative priorities and you want to help that effort, donate, and we can show you where and how we’ll use that money to benefit our legislative priorities.”

“This is all about building a team. The most successful teams are the ones that people want to be a part of. Right now, the Republican Party of Texas isn’t very inviting to the grassroots. It is telling the grassroots what to do and what to believe. I believe that the party belongs to the people, and that’s what we have to make happen.”

A: Lack of Party Coordination Across the State.

“We don’t do any voter registration to get out and vote. There’s a group called ‘Power to the People,’ which is a leftist Democrat organization, and they’re sending a text all across the state of Texas to people who move into new residences saying, ‘I see that you’re not registered there. We are a group that is fighting Donald Trump, and we want to register as many people as possible and help you get registered,’” Armenta quoted.

“We don’t do that. We have no ground game, no multimedia game [and] no creative thought process in how to reach out to folks. There are 1,300 people a day who move into Texas, legally, and we have no idea how many of them are conservatives and Republicans and that we are registering. The only registration efforts are scattered and uncoordinated and they’re just being done by the grassroots, the best they possibly can. Again, we need a state party that coordinates this and drives this. We aren’t doing any communication and outreach in the community.”

A: Not Engaging Voters, such as Conservative Latinos, Where They’re At.

“I’m on the board of the Hispanic Republicans of Texas, and we spend a lot of time out working with Latinos all across Texas. We know that there are well over 100 thousand people in Texas, Hispanics, who vote for Donald Trump and then vote Democrat the rest of the way down. And that’s because nobody is out there in Texas talking about how conservative values are synonymous with Republican values. We’ve got to engage the voters where they’re at,” he highlighted.

“The Republican party expects the voters to come to us. We’ve got to go to them! We’ve got to go be a part of the community. The RNC likes to set up these community outreach offices in Houston and San Antonio, and they’ll do it for two to four months during a presidential election cycle. And then, they’ll vanish. Instead of doing eight of them, the state party needs to do two or three of them and open them up year round. We need to hire people, locally, from those communities who know how to connect with those electorates.”

“Again, it’s about looking at the solution through the eyes of a business, an outsider, and putting the infrastructure in place to deliver results. The metric that matters most are wins and losses. And we lose,” Armenta explained.

“We had this nonpartisan election cycle over the last several weeks. The Republican party of Texas endorsed in 27 of those races. We won eight of them. Eight. All things being equal, we lose, and you know the Democrats are cheating and putting themselves on the scale. We have got to get serious about investing in local elections, we’ve got to spend time with the county and precinct chairs, and build the apparatus.”

A: Ignoring the Critical Young Republican Demographic.

Nobody is talking with our youth. Our young Republicans are unbelievably active. They run in races, they get elected, they mobilize. They’re starting young families, they care about the future, they’re motivated.”

“Nobody is partnering with them and bringing them to the table and helping them amplify and accelerate what they’re doing so that we can win more. So we’ve got a lot of work that we need to do, but it all starts with a vision and leadership. I go around the state of Texas, and there are a lot of people who would say ‘You know what, we just need to focus on the rural counties. Let Austin be Austin, and Harris County is basically a lost cause.’ That is loser mentality. It’s pitiful. We can’t do that.” 

“Do you think Travis County matters to Donald Trump? Heck yeah, it does. Do you think it matters to Senator Cruz? You’d better believe it! It certainly matters to the conservatives and all the people who live there. We’ve got to fight like we actually want this whole state to be red. The rest of the country is looking to Texas for leadership, and we’ve got to provide it.”

Q: What is your leadership style?

A: “I’m very collaborative. I listen a lot, and by the time we get to conventions, I will have traveled to 110 counties and met with tens of thousands of people, not just delegates but other folks, too,” Armenta began.

“[In the GOP], we can’t have a one-size-fits-all strategy. It’s a team sport. We’ve got to work together, listen to people, empower them to help work regionally across the senate districts. We’ve got to have county plans, senate district and regional plans, and a plan that encompasses similar counties and challenges regardless of where they are in the state.” 

“We’ve got counties that are facing similar voting behaviors or combatting similar strategies that the Democrats are bringing to them. We’ve got to partner them up. There are counties that are trying to work on voter outreach, and they’ve got lessons learned and ideas down in the Valley that the panhandle could benefit from. There are ideas around securing our elections in East Texas that West Texas could benefit from,” he explained.

“The role of the Chairman in the republican party of Texas is a connector role, and we need to set that up.”

Q: Please explain your 6-Point Plan in depth.

A: “I’ve worked very hard to communicate in a clear manner, and to help people understand that we can’t be a ‘jack of all trades.’ We’ve got to be focused on beating the Democrats. People will ask, ‘How do you unify?’ That’s how you unify,” Armenta asserted.

“You find a common thread in a mission, and you get everybody in the boat, rowing in the same direction, working toward that mission. But we’ve got to be thoughtful in how we achieve that. Whether it’s securing our elections, doing community outreach or holding elected officials accountable, we have to have a simple plan, and simple, clear ideas, and then we’ve got to fight for them. Legislative priorities are important, but those won’t matter if we don’t get Republicans elected.”

“So those are the things that I’m working on, those are the ideas that I’m bringing to the table. We’re going to work on those as a team, and we’re going to make sure that we turn the state red.”

Q: How will you hold elected officials accountable for their actions in office? 

“That is a top three theme that comes up regardless of where you are in the state. People are frustrated, very frustrated. Whether it’s the folks they’re sending to the Commissioners Court, or Austin or DC, it feels like, and rightfully so, that the elected officials become the elected class,” Armenta related. 

“They forget about who put them in office, who helped them get there. The government is by the people, for the people, and those representatives need to do their jobs. I believe that the ‘R’ by the name is earned. You have to earn that.” 

“Things like Rule 44, the censuring rule, that’s an important tool to help hold elected officials accountable. I think it needs to be wielded responsibly, cautiously, but when it’s enacted, when someone is censured, it needs to have some heat behind it. And right now, it doesn’t.” 

“If you are censured, you should not be allowed to file as a Republican in the next election cycle. Period. It’s things like that that help the grassroots and the broader voting electorate understand that the power still belongs to them. It is their government. This party is their party.”

“[The Republican party] is not the party of their statewide elected officials or our federal elected officials. They are members of it, just like the hundreds of thousands or millions of Republican voters. They don’t own it, the people own it. We’ve got to do things like strengthening Rule 44 to make sure that the power stays with the people.”

Q: Lastly, is there anything else that you would like to share with the readers of Katy and Fort Bend Christian Magazines?

A: “As you look across all the various candidates in this race, it’s important that people ask themselves, ‘Who is it in this race that is bought and paid for, and who is it that is truly [loyal] to the voters, to the grassroots?’ Because that’s me,” Armenta pledged.

“I wasn’t hand-picked to do this by the elected class. I wasn’t bought and paid for by a bunch of PACs. I am self-funding this campaign. Individual donors have given to my campaign because they believe in the vision that the party should be built from the grassroots on up.”

“As I meet folks and communicate with them, with the great people of Katy Christian Magazine, it’s important for them to understand that I work for y’all. I work for the state of Texas. That’s who I’m accountable to. That’s today, tomorrow, however long that the voters and the delegates want me to serve them, I will be there, working for them.”

The race for Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas will conclude during the Texas GOP Convention, which takes place May 23 – 25 in San Antonio, Texas.

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