Jared Woodfill helped grow the Harris County Republican Party into a juggernaut and contributed to the dynamism and momentum that was instrumental in continuing the Republican wave that turned Texas a solid red in the 1990’s. Woodfill’s ascendancy in 2002 heralded a younger, more energetic and impassioned party that was limited only by its imagination, and he was an ideal spokesman for the times.
He was under constant attack by liberals across the region for his enthusiastic embrace of conservatism, and even by the likes of the DailyKos for trying to protect election integrity, for his donations to candidates, and for views he expressed. In other words, for being a (not always convenient or easy) dyed-in-the-wool conservative.
During Woodfill’s tenure as Chairman, the HCRP has raised over $20 million, had four countywide electoral sweeps, presided over best election cycle in HCRP history (2010), and mitigated the losses from the Obama wave with an aggressive grassroots effort. Even in 2012, Woodfill managed to ensure a strong down-ballot victory ratio, despite the many reported issues of faulty voting machines, and potential fraud by the other party. In 2012 under Woodfill’s watch, incumbents won and we picked up seven benches while the rest of the country was losing seats. In addition to these benchmarks, Harris County had a record number of straight ticket votes-over 500,000.
Significant and remarkable accomplishments by any measure, and indisputable success. Granted, there were setbacks and mistakes which held the party back, and Woodfill has paid the price for their accumulation. Did he ever have all the answers? No, of course not. Was he perfect? No one is. He fell short and failed many times, and in hindsight, many errors were self-inflicted, but it becomes pointless to imagine that anyone else could have accomplished greater given the opportunity.
Let us all take this moment to thank Jared Woodfill for his 12 momentous years of dedicated service to the party and the county. During his time, the party has grown more diverse as party stalwarts aged and new blood infused the ranks with the rise of the Tea Party and Liberty Republicans.
It’s time to move on from the last dozen years. America has changed. Texas has changed. Houston has changed. The election of Paul Simpson to the chairmanship offers a new beginning and a fresh start. Rather than re-fighting the battles of the past, the time has come to embrace a new path forward, link arms as a party and charge forward into the fray. Fortune favors the bold and victory awaits.