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Texas Republican convention splits with corporate sponsors

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott and former President Donald J. Trump attend a security briefing with state officials and law enforcement at the Weslaco Department of Public Safety DPS Headquarters before touring the US-Mexico border wall on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 in Weslaco, TX.

Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Abraham George is about to take the helm of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) at a time with the influential state-level political organization is casting aside its longstanding alliance with corporate America.

In its place, the RPT is embracing an anti-corporate, anti-elite populist agenda that is on the rise among Republicans across the country in the Trump era.

The annual Texas Republican Convention started Thursday in San Antonio, and culminated with George’s election as party chair. The event has long featured lucrative corporate sponsorships by Fortune 500 companies. But this year, the names of its biggest past sponsors were missing from the banners and agendas.

Verizon, Comcast and Union Pacific sponsored the 2020 Texas Republican convention, according to The Texas Tribune. But they are not listed as supporters this year.

Pepsi and Chevron were sponsors of the 2022 Texas Republican convention, but they are not backing this year’s event.

Spokespeople for Verizon, Comcast, Pepsi and Chevron did not reply to requests for comment. A spokesperson for Union Pacific said only that the company’s “political giving is bipartisan and publicly disclosed in accordance with state and federal laws.”

The fight over corporate money also bubbled up in the election that George won on Friday, to lead the state party.

Veteran Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak was among the group of candidates vying to be the next state GOP chair. In a memo declaring his candidacy, Mackowiak lamented that the “party’s corporate fundraising is virtually nonexistent.”

Griffin Perry, a Texas businessman and son of Republican former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said earlier this week that it’s time for the party to shift back to working with corporations.

“The next chair needs work with our corporations,” Perry told CNBC. “There’s no reason the Republican Party of Texas should not have corporate support.”

As for the lack of corporate sponsorship this year, Perry blamed the leadership team that was replaced on Friday. This team “wears that as a badge of honor,” he said, before the new chair of the state party was elected.

The Republican Party of Texas’ 2024 convention sponsors.

Republican Party of Texas

Indeed, James Wesolek, the communications director for the RPT, told CNBC “the Republican Party is the party of hard working Americans, not woke corporations seeking to destroy the America we love.”

Wesolek denied that the disappearance of traditional sponsors impacted this week’s state party convention.

“The party has fully funded our convention with sponsors that don’t require us to compromise our values,” he said.

This year, the sponsor…

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