STATE AND LOCAL

Tom Mechler: Texas GOP head resigns, citing family and finances

Texas Republican Party Chairman Tom Mechler resigned Saturday, citing family and financial reasons.

Mechler, an oil and gas consultant from Amarillo, wrote in his resignation letter that the Texas GOP has been very successful over the last two years, but his financial hardships have been overwhelming.

“With the fluctuations in the oil industry, my family struggled to financially stay afloat. At one point, I even had to sell off equipment just to keep my business in the black,” Mechler wrote in his resignation letter.

Mechler also wrote that he’s spent more than 80 percent of his time as chair away from home. The resignation comes after Mechler took a cruise with his wife two weeks ago and took time to reflect.

“Friends, this job is hard. The time commitment, financial commitment, stress, and overwhelming responsibility takes its toll. After a lot of prayer and reflection, I’ve decided that it is time for me to focus on my family,” wrote Mechler.

Members of the Texas GOP lauded Mechler’s efforts as chair. Executive Director of the El Paso Republican Party, Bob Pena, said Mechler improved the relationship between the state party and the local offices.

“It has been very beneficial to the local party. We’ve had immediate response to issues that come up,” said Pena.

Recently, a push to end straight ticket voting has been making its way through the Texas Legislature. Pena credited Mechler with getting many of the leaders from Texas’ 254 counties to support the bill.

Rumors had been going around since Thursday that Mechler might resign. The Texas Democratic Party had their own questions as to why Mechler was stepping down.

A post on their website asked five questions about why he was leaving. The post read “Is it because Texas Republicans are more divided than ever? Is it because major Texas Democratic gains were made in the 2016 election?”

“It's a damn shame Tom Mechler may be leaving the Texas Republican Party. Personally, I always enjoyed our exchanges because he made Democrats look so good,” Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement Saturday. “I wish him and his family the very best. Farewell, and good luck on the road ahead.”

The State Republican Executive Committee will meet on June 3rd to vote for an interim chair to finish Mechler’s term. Rick Figueroa, a member of President Trump's Hispanic Advisory Council, said he planned to seek the job.

Ray Bogan is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in El Paso, Texas. Follow him on twitter: @RayBogan