The Smith County Republican Party Executive Committee elected educator Tim McCormick as the party's new chairman Tuesday night.
McCormick, 50, a music teacher with Tyler ISD, replaced Ashton Oravetz.
His goals are to re-energize local GOP supporters, increase the party's public presence and fundraising efforts while coordinating efforts with neighboring counties and utilizing technology.
McCormick, a Tylerite, moved back to Smith County in 2009. He has been active within the GOP since college, he said. McCormick said the Smith County GOP will make efforts to reach Hispanic, African-American and younger voters, who historically have not participated in politics.
“One thing we want to do is help improve the party, to grow the party,” he said. “We will make a concerted effort to reach underrepresented voters.”
McCormick said updating the party's technological capabilities and focusing on commonalities within differing demographics will boost the party's appeal.
He takes the reins of a fractured local party made up of right-wing conservatives and Republicans with wiggle room for compromise on some issues.
Oravetz resigned his post as a highly regarded local conservative activist who grew tired of a state and national Republican Party he described as “beyond repair” because of its inability to stay true to its platform based on limited government and fiscal and social conservatism.
McCormick said there are always differing views within politics and that he will focus his energy on finding Republican causes all sides can agree on.
JoAnn Fleming, Grassroots America — We the People executive director, said she knows McCormick on a casual basis from events such as state GOP conventions, but that his reputation is one of a reliable leader who leads through work. McCormick also participated in Grassroots America voter education and participation initiatives, she said.
“He knows what it takes to get out the vote and how to get to know voters,” she said. “I would say he was highly recommended and regarded.”
Oravetz called McCormick a “forthright, honest conservative.”
Executive Committee member Sharon Guthrie said there were four candidates in the running prior to the vote. Three of the candidates were unable to attend the meeting because they were working, out of the country and sick, respectively. McCormick was elected by a 28-5 vote, she said.
“We're excited because there is good energy,” McCormick said. “We're looking forward to make sure the party is open to people who hold our values no matter where they come from.”