Robert Morrow credits his victory to “being listed first on the ballot.” “You have a long ballot. When some new voters turn out for [Donald] Trump, and they get to the bottom of that ballot, they just fill out the first name,” he said.
That was how the newly elected chairman of the Travis County Republican Party — already, perhaps, the most famous chairman of the Travis County Republican Party — explained his victory. Tuesday night’s Texas primary saw a Republican voter surge, one that swept Morrow, a gadfly political activist and author with a penchant for gay jokes, into power.
The Texas Tribune’s Jordan Rudner was the first to notice the significance of this, and profiled Morrow in a profanity-laced piece which, according to its subject, “should be nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.” Wednesday, as the larger media woke up to Morrow, his corpus of strange jokes and theories about the sex lives of his political enemies got the delayed publicity he’d always wanted. Morrow, who once claimed he could confirm rumors about Rick Perry’s sexuality because “his entourage runs with the same women as me,” had become a frequent defender of Trump. For example, Morrow tweeted this on Feb. 29: “Disabled reporters should be ridiculed https://t.co/4mFbYyOBba.”
This included a side gig in spreading rumors about Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Such as this tweet Feb. 28:
“Rubio needs to be in gay underwear advertisements. https://t.co/Q03q2oQlQy.”
Morrow, the co-author of “The Clintons’ War on Women,” had recently used Twitter to promote its allegations. In plain sight, his co-author Roger Stone, a political ally of Trump’s even after distancing himself from the actual campaign, described Morrow as “my candidate” for the Travis County job.
Thanks to Travis County voters, the man in line to lead the local GOP — the one that operates around the state capital in Austin — is best known for insisting that former governor Rick Perry is gay.
“Anti-gay Rick Perry is a lifelong homosexual – also in bed with American Family Association http://t.co/f93u1sBUWW,” Morrow tweeted in June 2014.
This is not how Morrow prefers to be seen. “My true expertise is in the JFK assassination,” he explained. “But I’m just so disgusted that the Bush family, who are a bunch of criminals, are involved in Republican Party politics. They ought to be in jail. They’re a bunch of criminals. My disgust at the Bushes was a big reason I ran for this job. Two years ago, [incumbent chairman] James Dickey was calling my friends and telling them to talk me out of the race for precinct chairman. So I said, f–k it, I’ll run for county chair.”
The vice chairman of the Travis County GOP, the fairly prominent pundit and strategist Matt Mackowiak, reacted quickly to Morrow’s win. In a Facebook post he pledged to do “everything in my power to remove, constrain, and/or persuade [Morrow] to resign.”
Morrow laughed at the mention of Mackowiak’s name. “When I am installed as chair of the Travis County Republican Party, he will be fired,” he said. “He’s also a traitor to the Republican Party. He’s not going to be supporting the Republican Party’s nominee — he’s one of those #NeverTrump people. He’s not just a blowhard, he’s an idiot.”
Over the course of a short phone conversation, Morrow encouraged reporters to post “the greatest hits” of his social media accounts, and shared a few of them, including one that relied on the reader’s knowledge of the Lorena Bobbitt scandal to make a point about Hillary Clinton.
“F–k political correctness,” said Morrow. “I just love Donald Trump running for president. The Democrats, the Republicans, and the media are scum.”
Weigel is a national political correspondent covering the 2016 election and ideological movements.