Pre-87th Legislative Session Round Table (copy)

State Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, speaks during a pre-87th legislative session forum hosted by White Oak and Union Grove ISDs, at Union Grove High School in 2020.

The Marion County Republican Party sent a letter to the state party Thursday morning requesting that State Rep. Chris Paddie be officially censured.

The local party’s action comes exactly a day after the state representative announced he will not be running for re-election.

Although he’s not running for re-election, Marion County Republican Party chair Scott Stebbins said the censure was still necessary because Paddie is still in office.

“He is still our representative,” said Stebbins.

Stebbins said the Marion County Republican Party’s executive committee had already made the unanimous vote last month to censure the state representative but held off on forwarding it to the state party in order to give Rep. Paddie time to respond to their invitation to discuss issues.

“I had offered an open invitation to Chris Paddie beginning the first and second session,” Stebbins told the News Messenger. “I said: ‘Hey, if you will meet with us, I will set up a meeting anytime you’re available.’ I reminded him a few times as well, and he never took me up on it.”

Stebbins said the Marion County Republican Party wanted to discuss not only issues that their party was having with his representation of House District 9, but also discuss the 18 grievances that the executive committee of the Harrison County Republican Party had highlighted in their own censure against Paddie.

Stebbins said when they saw Harrison County’s censure letter, he fact-checked the allegations in their grievance by confirming the actions with the Republican Party of Texas.

“I saw the (Harrison County) censure letter, and I said let me find out if it’s all factually correct,” said Stebbins. “So I talked to the Republican Party of Texas. I talked to headquarters. They said yeah, it’s factually correct.”

But initially, “I held off on censuring him,” said Stebbins. “I thought he was going to come talk to us.”

“I was holding back just to confirm everything was factually correct to give Chris Paddie an opportunity to come talk to us and he never did,” said Stebbins. “Even the day before he made his announcement, I had texted him…when are you coming to talk to us. I wanted him to come in and at least (have a dialogue).”

Stebbins said the executive committee, consisting of himself and 10 precinct chairs, decided to move forward with the censure, having duly offered Paddie an opportunity to speak on the grievances.

“I said let’s send it out,” said Stebbins. “It’s our official censure to the Republican Party of Texas. Sending it to them makes it official.”

Paddie’s response

Paddie, who is now busy in a third special session at the state capitol, expressed his disappointment in the executive committee’s leader’s move.

“This is a pathetic, cowardly action taken by Mr. Stebbins,” the state representative said in a statement to the News Messenger. “Not only has he defied the will of Marion County Republican voters, who supported me by almost 80 percent in the past primary election, but he also did not even attempt to follow the rules of the Republican Party of Texas.

“While I have been busy representing East Texas in the Texas House, Mr. Stebbins has decided to divide Republicans in Marion County,” said Paddie.

Paddie accused the Marion County leader of seemingly being a puppet to Harrison County Republican Party chair Lee Lester, who has been spearheading efforts to censure Paddie.

“Mr. Stebbins isn’t a leader of anything, but like several other East Texas Republican party chairs, he is merely a minion of Lee Lester,” said Paddie. “He is recycling the misinformed lies that Lester sold to less than 10 people in Harrison County.

“Like Lester, Stebbins did not have the integrity or decency to hold these meetings in public, give proper notice, and for some untold reason concealed his disgraceful action for over a month,” said Paddie. “These RINOs appear to be set on destroying the Republican Party in East Texas.

“In this vein, I am committed to working with the thousands of actual Republicans in these counties to find challengers for these RINOs in the coming primaries to help restore sanity and unity to our county Republican parties and find people who actually care about East Texans,” said Paddie.

According to the censure, Rule 44 of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) allows the party to sanction a Republican office holder who takes three or more actions during a biennium in opposition to the core principles of the Republican Party of Texas platform

“Representative Chris Paddie (has demonstrated a consistent pattern of actions demonstrably opposed to the first, second, fourth, ninth, and tenth core principles of the RPT Platform, by repeatedly voting contrary to these core principles, and abusing his authority as Chairman of the State Affairs Committee in the 87th Texas Legislature to thwart the advancement of bills favorable to these Core Principles,” the censure states.

The censure, which is identical to the one passed by Harrison County’s party, cited the same 18 grievances. The Marion County Republican Party is requesting that the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) approves this resolution of censure and impose on Rep. Paddie the full set of penalties provided in Rule 44 of the Rules of the Republican Party of Texas.

“We strongly encourage our fellow Republican Party Executive Committees of the Cass, Panola, Sabine, and Shelby Counties, who are also part of House District 9, to pass this, or a similar resolution, to demonstrate the widespread dissatisfaction with the lack of representation we have received by Chris Paddie, and the solidarity of the grassroots in opposition to his continued status as our elected representative,” the censure states.

Dedicated to redistricting

Clearing up other concerns about whether he plans to still participate in the redistricting process following Wednesday’s announcement of his decision not to seek re-election, Paddie said he does.

“I absolutely am going to participate in the redistricting process,” Paddie told the News Messenger. “I look forward to working with my House colleagues to ensure that we have the strongest possible East Texas delegation.”

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