Conroe, August 1 – If there are three principles for which Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Wally Wilkerson has claimed that he stands they’ve been the so-called “11th commandment,” Party neutrality in Primary Elections, and the uniqueness of the Republican Party due to its conservative positions and principles. During the past two decades, Wilkerson has firmly moved away from all three of those principles, so that among Republican leaders in Texas, Wilkerson has become a bit of a laughingstock.
Last December, several members of the State Republican Executive Committee (along with hundreds of others) attended the Conservative Leadership Awards Gala of Empower Texans, one of the largest grassroots conservative Republican organizations in Texas. When the Publisher of The Golden Hammer introduced himself as hailing from Montgomery County, the reaction was two-fold: first, people said “that’s the most corrupt County in Texas; what’s wrong with it?” Second, people asked “When will you finally get rid of that guy who is your Republican chairman who is preventing the Republican Party from organizing and moving forward?”
The Montgomery County Republican Party has garnered that terrible reputation, because Wilkerson during the past two decades has moved away from the three most important principles of Republican Party organization and operations.
The 11th commandment
The so-called “11th Commandment” of then-California Governor Ronald Reagan is “you should not speak evil of a fellow Republican.” When Wilkerson was firmly in control of the majority of the members of the Montgomery County GOP Executive Committee (CEC) – composed of the elected Precinct Chairs – Wilkerson repeatedly reminded others to abide by the 11th Commandment.
In recent years, however, Wilkerson has violated the 11th Commandment on numerous occasions. Wilkerson has openly criticized United States Senator Ted Cruz, particularly when Cruz challenged then-Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in the 2012 Republican Primary Election for an open Senate seat. Wilkerson has started horrible rumors about local Republican elected officials and candidates whom he doesn’t like. Wilkerson particularly dislikes people who live south of the San Jacinto River.
Two recent examples compellingly reveal Wilkerson’s breaches of the idea that one should not speak evil of fellow Republicans.
During the June 26, 2018, CEC organizational meeting, two Precinct Chairs aligned with Wilkerson rose to call the grassroots conservatives, who promoted new bylaws that would decentralize authority within the County GOP, “a bunch of Nazis” and “Nazis.” Wilkerson presided over the meeting and just allowed that incident to occur without attempting to bring order to the disruption. During the same meeting, a Wilkerson ally walked across the room and yelled out to several of the Precinct Chairs “you’re all pieces of s–t.” Once again, Wilkerson just let the incident occur.
Wilkerson himself filmed a video on Sunday, July 1, 2018, in which Wilkerson referred to one local Republican activist as having “committed felony voter fraud” and in which Wilkerson accused his fellow Republican Party officers of “underhanded tactics.” A family of democrats who recently got out of federal prison for committing federal crimes against Hurricane Katrina victims helped Wilkerson made the video.
That’s not the Wilkerson who presided over the County GOP in the 1970s and 1980s.
Lack of neutrality
Wilkerson, as County Chairman, has always claimed that he remained neutral in contested Republican Primary Elections.
In recent years, however, Wilkerson has become bitterly partisan within the Republican Party.
In 1998, Wilkerson openly opposed the candidacy of banker and homebuilder Bill Leigh for the Texas State Senate in a contested Republican Primary Election. Wilkerson openly backed another candidate, Mike Galloway, in that contest, even though Wilkerson lied repeatedly and misrepresented that he remained neutral.
In the 2018 Republican Primary Election, Wilkerson took the unusual position of Vetting Committee Chairman for the Associated Republicans of Texas, a liberal group associated with left-leaning Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. As Chairman of ART’s Vetting, Wilkerson endorsed Jackie Waters, a candidate for the Republican nomination for State Representative, District 15, against conservative Steve Toth. During the campaign, Wilkerson openly discussed Wilkerson’s accusations of Toth’s supposed “ethical lapses” all of which turned out to be fictions emanating from Wilkerson. Wilkerson convinced ART to plow over $70,000 into Waters’ race against Toth. Toth won the election with more than 78% of the vote.
Failure to follow the Republican Party Platform
In the 1990s, a group of grassroots conservatives tried to get Wilkerson and the Republican Headquarters Committee to put a copy of the GOP Platform on display in the Party Headquarters. Wilkerson refused.
During the 1990s and late 1980s, Wilkerson at first tried to define himself as a “fiscal conservative” as opposed to a “social conservative.” The reality soon became clear that Wilkerson was neither type of conservative. Both in the 1996 and 1998 GOP Senatorial Conventions in Montgomery County, Wilkerson voted against the Anti-Abortion Planks in the Republican Party Platform. Wilkerson often expressed that he didn’t want anti-abortion activists in Republican Party leadership positions. Wilkerson’s actions flew in the face of several Planks in the Republican Party Platform all of which were Pro-Life and Anti-Abortion.
In the early 2000s, however, it rapidly became clear that Wilkerson was not a “fiscal conservative” either. When the Montgomery County Hospital District (MCHD) began reducing the costs of its indigent medical care program, Wilkerson was furious that the MCHD Board voted to reduce the payment of full fee-for-service rates for oncology drugs to Sadler Clinic doctors who were making millions of dollars off of the taxpayers. After the MCHD Board voted to reduce the payments for oncology treatments to Medicaid rates, Wilkerson was furious and Sadler Clinic refused to treat indigent patients at all, because they wouldn’t make millions of dollars off of them. Ironically, Dr. Dean Sadler, the founder of Sadler Clinic, supported the MCHD’s Board’s decision to reduce the taxpayers’ burden.
Similarly, the Republican Party Platform makes clear that the Party opposes “illegal immigration magnets,” medical, social, and educational programs provided to illegal aliens for free. Wilkerson, however, had a major break with the MCHD Board and with many others when they wouldn’t follow his demands that illegal immigrants receive those free medical and social programs at taxpayers’ expense.
In 2017, Wilkerson opposed three major fiscally conservative resolutions that came before the Montgomery County GOP Executive Committee:
- Wilkerson opposed the censure of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus who single-handedly killed statewide property tax reform in the 2017 Texas Legislature, killed the bathroom privacy bill, and killed numerous other tax-saving Republican fiscal measures. Wilkerson told the Executive Committee that he knew Straus’ mother and that Straus was a “good person who deserves our support.” The County Executive Committee voted almost unanimously to censure Straus.
- Wilkerson opposed the County Executive Committee resolution calling for the Montgomery County government to adopt a 20% homestead exemption, lower government spending, and raise law enforcement spending. Wilkerson tried to kill the resolution procedurally but failed when the grassroots conservative outmaneuvered him with parliamentary procedure to bring the measure to a final vote as it passed by a 2/3rds margin.
- Wilkerson also opposed the GOP resolution passed on August 17, 2017, in which the County Executive Committee called for a referendum to allow voters to say whether or not tollroad funding should proceed without getting voter approval in a referendum first. Wilkerson tried to adjourn the meeting but his own Parliamentarian overruled him and wouldn’t allow that to happen. The measure passed by a unanimous vote of the Precinct Chairs.
After voters in the March 6 referendum, Proposition 2, voted 91% Countywide to require voter approval before tollroad funding occurred, in a nonbinding referendum, Wilkerson’s opposition to the measure revealed how out of touch Wilkerson is with the principles and beliefs of Republican Party voters.