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Controversial Travis GOP Chair Faces Removal Over Presidential Run

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr/KUT
Travis County GOP Chairman Robert Morrow at the Donald Trump rally at the Travis County Expo on August 23, 2016.

UPDATE: A spokesman for the Republican Party of Texas says the party considers Morrow's filing of paperwork for his write-in presidential run to be in violation of state law, and thus triggered his resignation.

Republican Party of Texas Chair Tom Mechler issued the following statement this afternoon:

“In accordance with state law, upon filing as a write-in candidate for President of the United States on August 19th, 2016, Robert Morrow became ineligible to hold the office of Travis County Republican Chair. There is absolutely no place for rhetoric as distasteful as Mr. Morrow’s in the Republican Party of Texas. We are excited to move forward with the Travis County GOP and the new incoming Chair as soon as an election is held to fill the position.”

ORIGINAL STORY: If you've been following local Republican politics over the past six months, you've no doubt heard the name Robert Morrow. 

He won a surprise victory in March to be the chairman of the Travis County GOP. Morrow has a history of making outlandish claims about politicians, conspiracy theorizing and a penchant for NSFW content on his Twitter feed.

Here he is at the Donald Trump rally in Austin on Tuesday, protesting against the GOP nominee holding a sign that read "Trump is a child rapist". He was later asked to leave by police.

Other party officials have distanced themselves from Morrow, even adopting a new leadership structure after he was officially installed as chairman in June, aimed at limiting his power. 

Now, the Travis GOP is getting ready to make what it calls a "major announcement" about the future of the county party.

The email announcing the forthcoming announcement refers to David Duncan as the party's acting chairman. Earlier in the week, the party referred to Duncan as "Executive Vice Chairman".

An effort to oust Morrow as chairman may be tied to his filing as a write-in candidate for president (which you can read below) last Friday. Under state law, a party official cannot be a candidate for federal, state or county office.

Party officials reached Thursday declined to say whether or how they were pursuing Morrow's removal. Morrow denies that he has been removed. He tells our political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune:

"They don’t have the grounds to do that and anybody who says so is probably lying," Morrow said Thursday. "The case law on this is probably extremely thin."  “If other people attempt to pull a coup like this, there will be trouble," Morrow added. "The bottom line is the Texas voters, the Republican Party, have spoken."

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.
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