When Mark Montgomery beat incumbent Wade Emmert to become the chair of the Dallas County Republican Party, it was widely viewed as a fluke. Montgomery's short stint at the head of the local party drove the point home. The unknown Tea Partier proved unable to raise money and resigned earlier this month, leaving the Dallas GOP with just $180 in its bank account.
Over the weekend, ahead of a Monday night vote to name his replacement, Montgomery settled on a scorched earth policy during his retreat. He claimed that one of its most prominent members Dallas U.S. Representative Pete Sessions, had stymied Montgomery's fundraising efforts and was tacitly colluding with Dallas Democratic U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson. Montgomery wrote in an email blast to supporters:
Of course it is well-known that Congressman Sessions has a verbal agreement with Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-CD30) that the Republican Party will not run a viable candidate in South Dallas as long as the Democrat Party doesn’t run a viable candidate in North Dallas, particularly in his district. In other words, the Democrats can run South Dallas and the Republicans will run North Dallas. If you have doubts, then why have Republican candidates been discouraged from entering races in South Dallas, and been unsupported by the Party when they ran anyway?
Montgomery claimed that, during an initial meeting with Sessions, the representative pounded his fists on the table, making threats about what would happen were Montgomery to support candidates in southern Dallas.
Tuesday afternoon, Sessions' office described the meeting with Montgomery as cordial, without any banging on the table. "The idea that Congressman Sessions brokered a deal to help Democrats is completely ludicrous and wholly untrue," a Sessions spokesperson (who asked to remain anonymous) told the Observer. "Much to the contrary, Congressman Sessions has a long and successful history of helping Republican candidates and working to defeat Democrats at the local and federal level."
Phillip Huffines, the twin brother of state Senator Don Huffines, was elected to takeover for Montgomery. Despite rumors that his brother will face a primary challenge during the 2018 election cycle, Huffines promised to remain neutral in all GOP primary battles.
"The enemy is not in this room," he told the Dallas County GOP precinct chairs who would eventually elect him Monday night, according to The Dallas Morning News . "The enemy is at the door, and they are kicking it in. The enemy is the Democrats."