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Andi Sheeder (left) and her daughter Emory meet state Sen. Jane Nelson and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during the Texas Strong Republican Women’s Club “Power of the Purse” fundraiser on Friday at Robson Ranch in Denton.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and several other local Republican leaders convened Friday night at Robson Ranch at the inaugural “Power of the Purse” fundraiser for the Texas Strong Republican Women’s Club.

State Sens. Jane Nelson of Flower Mound, and Pat Fallon of Prosper, together with Patrick, spoke to the crowd of more than 100 gathered in the Robson Ranch Clubhouse about the role Denton County and Tarrant County will play in the 2020 elections.

During his speech, Patrick commented on the state of politics in Texas and underscored the importance of the upcoming elections for the Republican Party. He pointed to his narrow victory in the 2018 election and said Democrats are seeing higher voter turnout. Patrick also spoke about the presidential election and several of the Democratic candidates, most notably Beto O’Rourke, who on Thursday said he is in favor of revoking the tax-exempt status of religious institutions that oppose same-sex marriage.

“This is what we’re facing,” Patrick said. “The end of our party, the end of our state, the end of our country, and quite frankly, total chaos in the world. If you take us off the world stage, the world is finished.”

Patrick concluded his speech by thanking the Texas Strong Republican Women’s Club for organizing the event before guaranteeing a Republican victory in the upcoming elections.

“We’re going to win in 2020,” Patrick said. “We’re going to win Denton County. We’re going to win Texas, and Donald Trump is going to be elected president one more time.”

The fundraiser featured a live and silent auction to raise money for nonprofits, scholarships for young Republican women and Republican campaigns. Nelson kicked off the speeches and spoke about teacher compensation in Texas, keeping Texas red and the importance of women in the Republican party.

“What happens in your house is more important than what happens in the White House,” Nelson said. “A lot of the problems that we deal with on a state level and even on a national level are problems we have because we aren’t taking care of business at home.”

Nelson has been a member of the Texas Senate since 1993 and is its highest-ranking Republican. In the same week she announced her campaign for reelection, Nelson spoke about women’s progress in the Republican Party since she was first elected.

“I never imagined running for office myself, we [women] didn’t do that,” Nelson said. “Well guess what? Times have changed. Look at our Texas Senate. We have nine women, six who are Republicans and of those six, five of us are chairmen of committees.”xs

Like Patrick, Nelson stressed the importance of the upcoming elections and implored the women in the audience to become more involved in campaigning and politics in general.

“I think it is important that we talk about all issues,” Nelson said. “There are some who would like to say that education and health care are women’s issues. All issues are women’s issues. We pay bills, we run businesses, all issues affect us.”

Before their speeches both Patrick and Nelson spoke about the significance of Denton County, specifically the Robson Ranch development in southwestern Denton.

“When I ran in 2013, she [Nelson] told said that if you want to carry Denton County, you have to carry Robson Ranch,” Patrick said. “So I came here and the people were wonderful. We had a debate here and a few speeches because they have one of the highest voter turnouts in the country.”

The purpose of the event and those who spent months organizing it were not lost on Patrick, who said it is crucial for the number of young women in the Republican Party to continue to grow.

“We have to grow our party with younger people,” Patrick said. “The TSRW [Texas Strong Republican Women’s Club] ladies are a very important part of that effort to bring new people into the party.”

The total amount raised Friday night won’t be clear until later this week, but club members agreed the results exceeded their expectations. Toward the end of the night, a purse donated and auctioned off by Nelson sold for $1,200, and a holster donated and auctioned off by Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree went for $1,000.

Members of the Texas Strong Republican Women’s Club, including President Jill Tate, were pleased with the inaugural event.

“This event shows that we are relevant,” Tate said. “We are a powerhouse. We are effective because Republican women help Republicans get elected.”

JESSE BRACKEEN can be reached via Twitter at @BrackeenJesse.

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