Republican Senator Rand Paul’s presumptive 2016 presidential campaign just scored a major victory in its quest to win the prized Lone Star State. Despite the fact that Texas Senator Ted Cruz and the state’s former Governor Rick Perry are rumored to be considering their own bids for the White House in 2016, the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, Steve Munisteri, has announced, according to The Associated Press by way of Yahoo! News, that he will be stepping down from his official role as the state party’s chief in order to clear his schedule for a new job as a national senior adviser on Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign team. Texas GOP Vote notes that Munisteri will officially be resigning as chairman on March 7, 2015.
Munisteri has been elected to serve as the Texas GOP’s chairman three times and is known for his skill as a fundraiser. As chairman, Munisteri balanced the state party’s budget, which had been plagued by debt prior to his chairmanship, and raised an additional $22 million.
A long time friend of the Paul political family, Munisteri told The Associated Press, “I couldn’t say no to him… He’s the only conservative candidate that I see who is reaching out to minority voters and young voters.” The Wall Street Journal quoted Munisteri as saying, “I’ve known the senator for 33 years and what I’m most impressed with about him is his commitment to expand the party’s reach. Our party cannot be successful, we cannot retake the White House if we do not do a better job of reaching out. Senator Paul has had that message since he’s been in office.”
Texas’ presidential primary election will take place on March 1, 2016, meaning it will be an early opportunity for a campaign to gain momentum by picking up a large number of delegates in one state. With the former chairman of the Republican Party of Texas on Rand Paul’s 2016 campaign team, he will have strong inroads into the state’s hardest working activists and wealthiest donors.
Rand Paul’s political adviser, Doug Stafford, who is laying the groundwork for Paul’s presumptive 2016 campaign, said, “I am very pleased Steve will be joining our team. As a party chair in Texas, he raised the bar for grassroots engagement and performance. His experience in multiple national campaigns will be invaluable to Sen. Paul.” Stafford told The Wall Street Journal that he believes that Munisteri “has chosen Sen. Paul because he has the best chance to win nationally.”
Though Senator Paul has yet to officially announce his intentions to run for his party’s nomination for president in 2016, he has kept up a relentless schedule of appearances in key states like Texas, New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina and has been absorbing top political operatives from those states into his campaign as senior advisers. Paul has also been wooing high-profile GOP donors in preparation for his campaign, which is expected to launch officially in the spring.
Munisteri said that he will put his contact list of activists and donors to work for Paul’s 2016 bid for the presidency. He told The Associated Press, “I have some definite ideas how to lay out a presidential campaign.”