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BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS

Correspondent

GILMER–Rhonda Anderson, director of voter engagement for Gov. Greg Abbott, called on members of the Cherokee Rose Republican Women last week to become deputy voter registrars and help register Republicans.

Addressing the club’s monthly July 22 public meeting at Lantana Activity Center outside Gilmer, Longview resident Anderson said citizens can talk to Upshur County Elections Administrator Lory Harle and become a deputy registrar who can register voters anywhere in the county.

Once deputized for Upshur, a person can visit other counties, show his/her registrar card, and automatically be deputized in those counties too, Anderson said, adding that the Cherokee Rose members are needed to “help get our people registered.”

She noted she registers voters from several counties and was at a recent event where “I know they’re gonna vote our way ’cause they’re at a gun show.” She also noted “independent” nursing homes are a potential place to register voters because “the people that live there tend to vote Republican,” and she encouraged attending indoor events there during current hot weather.

In addition, the speaker said Republicans attend Veterans of Foreign Wars events, and told those present to let her know if a church would let them hold a voter registration drive on a Sunday. She said to tell the church they would register everyone.

Gregg County churches she approached have refused this request, she said.

“You can screen people” at any event, and “of course, you want to target Republican voters,” Anderson said. However, “unfortunately, you’re gonna run into some Democrats” and must also register them.

The speaker cited a forthcoming Sept. 21 gun show at the Gilmer Civic Center as a possible opportunity to sign up voters as “I can’t tell you how many people wanted to sit down at my table at the gun show (which she attended) to talk about how crazy the Democrats are.”

She also suggested procuring a list of persons who have moved to Upshur County, but are still registered in another county. Deputy registrars can ask them if they need to register in Upshur, she said.

The speaker, who said she was a field organizer for Abbott during his 2018 campaign, said he wanted to retain her as a liaison with Republican women’s clubs, and that she talks to them about voter engagement in voter registration.

She also defended Abbott from criticism he has received, saying a movement to censure Republican state Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen is being operated by Libertarians who “trash” the governor and such conservative state legislators as Reps. Cole Hefner, Matt Schaefer and State Sen. Bryan Hughes.

She said the censure resolution “shows division in our party,” and urged that the GOP not risk losing its majority in the state House of Representatives “over five things” which censure promoters failed to get in the recent legislative session.  She noted those proposals could perhaps be considered in a future session.

She said it was “okay to disagree,” but called for unity.

Anderson also noted Abbott drew criticism over the passage of school safety bills, but they will not “infringe” on the Second Amendment. “Don’t let anybody tell you they’re coming for your guns” because of this legislation, she said, averring that Abbott “has to find a middle ground for everybody” on issues.

“I don’t agree with everything Governor Abbott does,” Anderson said. Still, “I know his heart and his philosophy.”

Before Anderson spoke, Cherokee Rose President Cynthia Ridgeway, who is also chairman of the Republican Party of Upshur County, told the audience the GOP must “unite our conservative people” and put aside certain differences.

She said that was needed because billionaire George Soros, a frequent target of criticism from the political right, is “pouring money into Texas,” and had gotten several Republican district attorneys ousted in the 2018 election.

“He is an anti-Semite” and “definitely hates America,” Ridgeway charged.

Ridgeway also said former Florida congressman and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Allen West has announced his candidacy for Texas state chairman of the Republican Party.