1854 – 1931
- Congressman Harry M Wurzbach
Although the National Republican Party (the Grand Old Party) was founded in 1854, just before the Civil War, with the purpose of the abolition of slavery, promotion of federalism, and many ideals that remain the founding principles of the GOP today, activity was sparse in Texas and Bexar County for many years. By the 1920s November election, Harry McLeary Wurzbach was elected as a U.S. Congressman on November 2, 1920, becoming the first Republican elected official in Bexar County. Wurzbach enjoyed repeated re-elections until the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt as President. Wurzbach died while in office on November 6, 1931. During the remainder of the Roosevelt years, the Party maintained a low profile.
- President Dwight D Eisenhower
However, the 1952 Eisenhower-Taft battle for the Republican nomination brought new life and new members to the Party. In those days there were precinct meetings but no primaries which led to chaos in 1952. Many people voted in the Democrat primary but then went to Republican precinct meetings that evening to support Dwight Eisenhower. That upset Senator Taft’s supporters. Credentials challenges abounded, along with rump precinct, county, and state conventions. Two groups went to the National Convention requesting to be seated. As Eisenhower controlled the Credentials Committee, his delegates were seated, and he won the nomination. Eisenhower went on to carry Bexar County in the 1952 and 1956 elections.
1954 – 1959
- Allan Shivers
The first Republican Primary happened by accident. In 1954, Republicans cross-filed Allan Shivers for Governor and he received 200,000 votes, kicking in an election code provision that required “real” primaries in 1956. In 1956, Republican Jesse Oppenheimer challenged Henry B. Gonzalez for State Senator. The next primary was not held until 1962 and they have and the primaries have continued every two years since that time. In 1959, the Bexar GOP opened a permanent office.
- U.S. Senator John Tower
In 1960, Bill Steger (R) ran for Governor and received 650,000 votes. At the same time, John Tower (R) ran for the U.S. Senate against LBJ and received 900,000 votes. Locally, Ike Kampmann, Jr.(R) ran for State Senate against Henry B. Gonzalez. LBJ’s election as Vice President set off a series of events that caused a perpetual election cycle in 1961. There were 71 candidates in the U.S. Senate special election, but John Tower (R) eventually won the state by 30,000 votes and carried Bexar County by 10,000 votes in a special election run-off and was elected on June 15, 1961. John Goode then ran a spirited race against Henry Gonzalez for Congress, Jimmy Helland took on Franklin Spears for State Senate, and Henry Catto and Raymond Russell, III, ran against Glen Kothmann and Rudy Esquivel, respectively, for State Representative in more special elections.
1962 – 1971
In 1962, the Bexar GOP captured its first three elected officials. We elected two Justices of the Peace — Bob Strickland and Frank Vaughn (who gave Blair Reaves his only defeat) and Constable Bill Hancock who switched parties and ran for reelection as a Republican. 1964 saw the election of Jimmy Helland as Commissioner, Precinct 3, who was the first Republican at the Courthouse. A permanent county party headquarters was established during that time and has been maintained continuously for over 60 years. It is now the only county party headquarters that has continuously been open since 1959. The Party was gaining momentum.
1972 – 1976
- Texas State Senator Jeff Wentworth
In 1972 Jim Nowlin and Joe Sage became the first Republicans to represent Bexar County in the Texas Legislature, and Doug Harlan ran such a strong race against 30-year Congressman O.C. Fisher that Fisher retired in 1974. In 1974, despite the implications of Watergate, Harlan narrowly lost to Democrat Bob Krueger. Jeff Wentworth was elected County Commissioner in 1976.
1978 – 1992
- Governor Bill Clements
- U.S. Rep. Tom Loeffler
- U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith
- Honorable Cindi Taylor Krier
The 1978 election proved to be a watershed year. Bill Clements was elected on January 16, 1979, as the first GOP governor since Reconstruction. Clements served two non-consecutive terms as Governor of Texas between 1979 and 1991 Tom Loeffler was elected to US House of Representatives District 21 on January 3, 1979, and served until January 3, 1987. Loeffler defeated Democrat Nelson Wolff with 57% of the vote, becoming the second Republican to represent Bexar County in Congress. But for the Bexar GOP, possibly the biggest news was Tom Rickhoff’s election as District Clerk — the first county-wide GOP official at the Courthouse.
In 1980, Alan Schoolcraft and Kae Patrick won hard-fought races for State Representative, but the Democrat-controlled Legislature refused to seat them. This triggered a special election in which Schoolcraft obliterated his Democrat opponent. There were now three GOP State Reps for the first time. The Bexar GOP was led by Lamar Smith as Chair and Cyndi Taylor Krier as Vice-Chair at that time.
Another watershed year came in 1982 when we cracked the courthouse wide open with the election of Roy Barrera, Jr., Tom Rickhoff, David Peeples, and David Berchelman as District Judges. Lamar Smith was elected County Commissioner and State Rep. George Pierce switched parties. In 1984, Cyndi Taylor Krier became Bexar County’s first Republican State Senator representing District 26 which she held from 1985 to 1993. Krier was the first female legislator with her defeat of an entrenched Democrat opponent, and, in 1992 she became our first Republican and first female County Judge which she held from 1993 to 2001.
In 1978, Lamar Smith was elected chairman of the Republican Party of Bexar County. In 1980, Smith was elected to the Texas House of Representatives representing Bexar County, the 57th District. He served on the Energy Resources Committee and the Fire Ants Select Committee. In 1982, he was elected to the 3rd Precinct of the Bexar County Commissioners Court and served from 1983 to 1986.
Smith was elected to represent the US House of Representatives from January 3, 1987 to January 3, 2019, and served for 16 consecutive years from 1988 to 2002 he won with over 72% of the voters.
1994 – 1998
- Judge Janet Littlejohn
The November 4, 1994 elections proved to be another banner year for the Bexar GOP. Thousands of ballots that had not originally been tabulated were discovered during an official recount which resulted in Janet Littlejohn finally being declared the winner in the 150th District Court race. With her election, the GOP achieved most of the District Judges in Bexar County. We also won a majority of County Court at Law Judges and a majority on Commissioners Court. After Reagan Greer returned the District Clerk’s post to the GOP column in 1998, Bexar County Republicans enjoyed a 4 to 2 edge in county-wide courthouse officials. (see details bexar.org)
1996 to 2000
- U. S. Rep Phil Gramm
- U. S. Rep Henry Bonilla
- Governor Rick Perry
The November 5, 1996 General election saw Bill Clinton win the presidential bid in Bexar County and in the country to be elected as President. In Bexar County, Phil Gramm was defeated by his Democratic opponent but won statewide as Texas State Senator. Lamar Smith won U. S. Representative District 21 by 77%, and District 23 was won by Republican, Henry Bonilla by 77%. Republicans dominated the Texas Supreme court with a win for Chief Justice, Tom Phillips, Justice, Place 1, John Cornyn, Justice, Place 2, James A. Baker, and Justice, Place 3, Greg Abbott. Tom Price won, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3, and Bob Offutt won State Board of Education, District 5. Jeff Wentworth ran unopposed for State Senate, District 25. Bill Siebert won State House, District 121 and John H. Shields for State House, District 122, and Frank J. Corte for House District 123. David Berchelmann was unopposed for District Judge, 37th Judicial District. Wayne A. Christian won for Judge Court of Law No.9 and Lyle Larson won Commissioner’s Court, Precinct 3. And, Jay L. Rutt won Justice of the Peace, Pct. No. 2, Pl. 1. (see details bexar.org)
The November 3, 1998 midterm election was a successful year with Smith winning District 21 by 91% and Henry Bonilla winning District 23 by 78%. George Bush won Bexar County statewide to become Governor of Texas. Rick Perry lost Bexar County but won as Lt. Governor statewide John Cornyn won Bexar and statewide to become Texas Attorney General. Bexar GOP kept House Districts 121, 122, and 123 and the candidates were unopposed, and we won 10 District Judge races, and Republicans’, Susan Reed won as Criminal District Attorney and Cindy Taylor Krier as County Judge, unopposed. We won 7 District Judge positions, District Clerk and County Clerk. (see details bexar.org)
2000 – 2004
- President George W. Bush
- Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
- Rep Lyle Larson
The November 7, 2000, General Election was fraught with turmoil as a contentious recount was conducted in Florida for the Presidential win. Ultimately, George P. Bush and Dick Cheney wining in Bexar County, statewide and nationally. United States Senator was won by Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison with Lamar Smith easily winning U.S. Representative, District 121 and Henry Bonilla easily winning U.S. Representative, District 123. The Bexar GOP won two Railroad Commissioner positions with Charles R. Matthews and Micheal L. Williams winning their races. We won Justice, Supreme Court, places 1,2 and 3 and Presiding Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals and Place 1 and 2. Jeff Wentworth easily won State Senate, District 24 by 87% and Elizabeth Ames Jones won State Representative, District 121, John H. Shields, State Representative, District 122 and State Representative, District 123. We won three Justice, Court of Appeals, seven District Judge races and Lyle Larson won County Commissioner, Precinct 3 by 87%. (see details bexar.org)
The November 5, 2002, Midterm Election was a big win for Bexar County and our statewide candidates. John Cornyn won Bexar County and statewide for US Senator, US House, Lamar Smith won his House District 21 race and Henry Bonilla won his House District 23. Rick Perry won in Bexar County and statewide for Governor, and the GOP swept the statewide races with David Dewhurst for Lt. Governor, Greg Abbott for Attorney General, Carole Keeton Raylander for Comptroller, Commissioner of Land Office, Jerry Patterson, Commissioner of Agriculture, Jerry Patterson, Susan Combs, and Micheal L. Williams for Railroad Commissioner. All statewides won Bexar county except for David Dewhurst. (see details bexar.org)
The November 2, 2004, General Election saw the race between George P. Bush and John Kerry and George P. Bush winning Texas and Bexar County with the Republicans outvoting the Democrats: 51.40 to 47.96. Lamar Smith held his seat, US House District 21 and Henry Bonilla won his seat, US House District 23. Bexar GOP continued to have success in the Courthouse and District Judge seats. (see details bexar.org)
- Speaker Joe Straus
- State Rep. Frank Corte, Jr
The November 7, 2006, General election saw Lamar Smith win his US House District 21 seat and Henry Bonilla win his US House District 23 seat. Kay Bailey Hutchison won Bexar County and statewide for US Senator and Governor Rick Perry defended his seat in Bexar County and statewide to win reelection as did David Dewhurst for Lt. Governor, Greg Abbott for Attorney General, Comptroller, Susan Combs, Jerry Patterson for Land Commissioner, and Todd Staples for Agriculture Commissioner. Texas is holding onto the statewide elections and Bexar GOP is doing its part. Ken Mercer was elected to the State Board of Education, District 5, and Jeff Wentworth was reelected to State Senator, District 25. Joe Strauss was elected to House Representative, District 121, and Frank J. Corte, Jr. to House District 122. Bexar GOP won 3 Justice, 4th Court of Appeals, and 7 District Judge races, and Susan Reed was reelected as Criminal District Attorney. We won 4 seats for Judge, County Court, and the race for Bexar County Clerk. (see details bexar.org)
2008 – 2012
- Hon. Francisco “Quico” Canseco, US House,
The November 4, 2008, election saw the election of Barack Obama against Republican, John McCain with Obama/Biden winning Bexar County. US Senator, John Cornyn, lost Bexar County but won statewide. Lamar Smith won his US House seat in District 21, but the GOP lost US House District 23 as Lyle Larson lost his election. Other notable elections include Joe Strauss winning reelection to Texas House District 122 and Frank J. Corte winning for Texas House District 123. We won three District Judge seats and Kevin Wolff was elected to Commissioners Court, Precinct 3 to replace Lyle Larson. (see details bexar.org)
The Bexar GOP had an exceptional General election on November 2, 2010, with Republicans outvoting Democrats by 53.21 % to 45.74 %. We showed up. Lamar Smith was easily re-elected to US House, District 21 and Francisco “Quico” Canseco won the US House, District 23 race returning that seat to the Republicans. (see details bexar.org)
2012 – 2016
- Senator John Cornyn
- Rep Will Hurd
- Governor Greg Abbott
- Texas Senator Donna Campbell
The November 6, 2012, General election saw the Democrats outvote the Republicans in Bexar County bringing a win in Bexar County for Obama/Biden and statewide. Ted Cruz ran for US Texas Senator replacing Kay Baily Hutchison and he lost Bexar County but won statewide. Lamar Smith was re-elected to US House District 21 and Francisco “Quico” Canseco was re-elected to US House District 23. Donna Campbell was elected to Texas State Senate, District 25, replacing the long-held seat by Jeff Wentworth. Lyle Larson was elected to Texas House District 122. We lost many seats at the Courthouse, but Republican, Susan Pamerleau was elected as Sheriff and Kevin Wolff was re-elected as County Commissioner, Precinct 3, and Mark Vojvodich was elected as Constable, Precinct 3. (see details bexar.org)
The November 4, 2014, election was a low turnout for both Republicans and Democrats, but a banner year for Republicans. We turned the Bexar County Courthouse, RED. John Cornyn easily won reelection for US Texas Senator and Lamar Smith won reelection for US House, District 21, and Republican Will Hurd won for US House, District 23 replacing Francisco “Quico” Canseco. Greg Abbott won for Governor in a heated and contentious race and Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick lost Bexar County, but won statewide. The GOP held the statewide races with Glenn Hegar winning the Comptroller race, Sid Miller winning the Agricultural Commissioner race and George P. Bush winning the Land Commissioner race and Ryan Sitton as Railroad Commissioner. The Republicans won four Texas Supreme Court races and four Court of Criminal Appeals races. Donna Campbell was reelected as Texas State Senator, District 25 and Rick Galindo won Texas House, District 117. Joe Strauss was reelected to Texas House, District 121 and Lyle Larson to Texas House, District 122. Sandee Bryan Marian was elected Chief Justice, Court of Criminal Appeals and we won 14 District Judge seats in the Bexar County courthouse. Susan Reed was reelected to Criminal District Attorney and the Republicans won 14 County Court Judge seats. And, we won the County Clerk and District Clerk seats. (see details bexar.org)
A special election on November 3, 2015 for Texas Representative District 118, was an enormous win for the Bexar GOP as John Lujan won an exciting victory and turned a traditionally Democrat seat to Republican. (see details bexar.org)
- President Donald Trump
- Rep Chip Roy
- Senator Ted Cruz
Historians will be studying the November 8, 2016, election for years as it was a tough fought battle between the Republicans Trump/Pence and Democrats Clinton/Kaine. Trump/Pence ultimately won nationally, but they did not win in Bexar County. Republicans lost several seats countywide. John Lujan lost his reelection to Texas Representative 118. Lamar Smith was easily re-elected to US House 21 and Will Hurd was re-elected to US House 23. We lost 3 Court of Criminal Appeals seats and Pete Flores lost his State Senator, District 19 race. Rick Galindo lost his State Representative, District 117 seat and Lyle Larson was uncontested for House Representative, 122. Susan Pamerleau lost her reelection for Sheriff. (see details bexar.org )
The November 6, 2018, election saw Ted Cruz reelected as US Texas Senator after a very contentious race for the Presidency and his Senate Seat. Cruz lost Bexar County but won statewide. With the retirement of Lamar Smith, Chip Roy won the Primary election and runoff and would go on to win the US House, District 21 keeping this seat strongly Republican. Will Hurd won reelection to US House, District 23. All Statewide candidates: Greg Abbott for Governor, Dan Patrick for Lt. Governor, Ken Paxton for Attorney General, Glenn Heger for Comptroller, George P. Bush for Land Commissioner and Christi Craddick for Railroad Commissioner all lost Bexar County but won statewide maintaining the statewide winning streak. Bexar GOP was not successful in winning back out county courthouse seats. (see details bexar.org)
- Commissioner Trish DeBerry
- Rep John Luhan
- New Bexar County Republican Logo 2021
The 2020 General election on November 3, 2020, was one of the hardest-fought and contentious elections that played out in the middle of the chaos and confusion of the Covid 19 pandemic. Ultimately, Biden/Harris would win the election. Bexar County voter turnout was 65.08%. Trump/Pence lost Bexar County. John Cornyn lost Bexar County but won statewide for US Texas Senator as did Chip Roy for US House, District 21. Tony Gonzales won his race for US House, District 23 in an expensive and highly contested race. Steve Allison won the former seat of Joe Strauss, Texas Representative, District 121and Lyle Larson won reelection for Texas Representative, District 122. And Kevin Wolff decided not to run, and Trish DeBerry won for County Commissioner, Precinct 3.
A special election was held for House Representative, District 118, on September 28, 2021, and John Lujan won the special election and will on the November 2022 General Election ballot. (see details September 28, 2021 Special St Rep 118 Election Summary Official (bexar.org))
Revised by the Communications Committee, April 29, 2022.
County Chairmen and Vice Chairmen
Republican Party of Bexar County
John Austin, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
Charlotte Williamson Eisenhauer, Vice Chairman – 2020
Cynthia Brehm, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
Joe Leatherwood, Vice Chairman, – 2020
Jeff McManus, Vice Chairman, – 2019
Christopher Rockett, Vice Chairman – 2018
Mark Dorazio, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
Robert Stovall, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
Anna Maria Farias, Vice Chairman, – 2015-2017
Shirley Martinez, Vice Chairman, – 2013-2015
Curt Nelson, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
Robert Stovall, Vice Chairman, – 2013
Susan Pamerleau, Vice Chairman, – 2012
Carol Van De Walle, Vice Chairman, – 2008-2012
Richard Langlois, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
Carol Van De Walle, Vice Chairman – 2004 – 2008
Roy R. Barrera, Jr., Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
Betty Hill Vice Chairman,
*Pat Tillman, Vice Chairman,
Carol Van De Walle, Vice Chairman,
June Deason, Vice Chairman,
*Teddy Peterson, Vice Chairman,
*Caroline Elwood, Vice Chairman,
Lonnie Wulfe, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
*James Knox Duncan, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
*John M. O’Connell, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
Lamar Smith, Chair, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
Cyndi Taylor Krier, Vice Chairman
*Edward R. Hopstetter, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
Van Henry Archer, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
*L. E. Sheppard, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
Jim Lunz, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
*Seagal Wheatley, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
Ed Holland, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
John W. Goode, Jr, Chairman, Republican Party of Bexar County
Updated, February 1, 2021