© Jim Bourg / Reuters
(Advisory: This story contains content that may offend some readers)
By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday distanced the party from its newly elected leader in Travis County, a self-described caustic tweeter and author of political conspiracy books who says he uses sexually explicit language on social media to educate people.
Robert Morrow, 51, beat the current Republican Party chairman in the county in Tuesday's primary, causing some officials in the party to tell local media they are seeing if they can prevent him from taking office.
"Robert Morrow in no way speaks for the Republican Party or its values. He cannot adequately represent the Travis County GOP," said John Wittman, a spokesman for the Texas governor.
Morrow said on his Twitter feed shortly after his win, "I am the face of the Re-Pube-Licking Party," and posted an idea for a pornographic video involving former first lady Barbara Bush.
"I put out caustic and inflammatory tweets because I am trying to educate people," he said in a Reuters interview, adding he provides Internet links to support his arguments.
Morrow boasted he did not spend a penny on his campaign and probably won because his name appeared first on the ballot. Travis County, which contains the Texas capital Austin, is one of the few Democratic strongholds in a heavily Republican state.
But party officials may be over a barrel in that there is little they can do to remove someone who has been duly elected. Some party leaders have floated the idea of starting a new county organization for the Republican Party and leaving Morrow to preside over an empty operation.
“They are neutered gerbils," Morrow said. "The people have spoken and Morrow is the face of the Travis County Republican Party."
Morrow, a Ted Cruz supporter who has also written conspiracy theory books about the Clintons and the John F. Kennedy assassination, has made defamatory remarks about Republican leaders in the state and the current crop of presidential candidates.
"The reason I ran for chair of the Travis County Republican Party is because I was so disgusted with the involvement of the Bush crime family in national politics and Republican Party politics," he said.
Andy Hogue, the communications director for the Travis County Republican Party, said the new county chairman does not take office until June 13.
"At this time there are many personal opinions but no official courses of action or statements," Hogue said.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Additional reporting by Lisa Maria Garza in Dallas; Editing by James Dalgleish)
This article was funded in part by SAP. It was independently created by the Reuters editorial staff. SAP had no editorial involvement in its creation or production.
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