Susan Weddington

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Susan Baker Weddington
Chairman of the
Republican Party of Texas
In office
1997–2003
Preceded byTom Pauken
Succeeded byTina Benkiser
Personal details
Born
Susan Baker

(1951-04-06) April 6, 1951 (age 68)
Michigan, USA
Spouse(s)(1) Joe Daniel Caldwell Sr. (divorced)
(2) George Robert "Bob" Weddington (married 1983)
ChildrenFrom first marriage:

Sean Ernest Caldwell

Two grandchildren
ResidenceFredericksburg

Gillespie County, Texas

Formerly: San Antonio, Texas
Alma materAlamo Heights High School
Trinity University
OccupationBusinesswoman

Susan Baker Weddington (born April 6, 1951)[1] is a retired businesswoman from Fredericksburg in Gillespie County in the Texas Hill Country, who from 1997 to 2003 was the state chairman of the Republican Party of Texas during the administrations of Governors George W. Bush and Rick Perry. She is a former long-term resident of San Antonio, Texas.

Background[edit]

A native of Michigan, Weddington moved to San Antonio before she was eighteen months of age and hence considers herself a native Texan,[2] she is one of two children of the late Louis C. Baker and the former Elaine Baird (1919-2011), she has a brother, David Baker.[3] Weddington graduated in 1969 from Alamo Heights High School in Alamo Heights[4] and thereafter from Trinity University in San Antonio, from which she received a bachelor's degree in communications and was for a time an instructor of photojournalism.[2]

Political life[edit]

Weddington was formerly employed by the firm Kinetic Concepts owned by her fellow San Antonio Republican James R. Leininger, who has been a major donor to former Governor Perry, other Republican candidates, and conservative causes.[5] A Christian conservative activist, Weddington became interested in politics as the mother of a teenaged son visiting the Texas State Capitol in Austin, her particular interests at the time were education and product liability laws, which had caused her problems in her own business.[6] In 1990, Weddington placed a black wreath that read "Death to the Family" at the door of the campaign headquarters in Austin for the successful Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Ann W. Richards, the departing state treasurer who that year defeated Republican oilman Clayton W. Williams Jr., of Midland. At the state Republican convention that year, Weddington participated in a prayer rally and called upon the Almighty to "watch over the caucus rooms and the convention hall."[7]

In 1997, Weddington was unanimously elected state chairwoman by the 62-member Republican State Executive Committee to succeed Tom Pauken of Dallas, who resigned after three years in the position to run, unsuccessfully as it developed for state attorney general,[2] she was Pauken's choice as his successor. For part of her tenure, the vice chairman was the conservative author and activist David Barton;[8] the post ultimately went to John Cornyn, now the senior U.S. senator from Texas. Chairwoman Weddington held strength from both the religious conservative wing of her party and the fiscal conservatives as well. Chuck Anderson, then the executive director of the Texas Christian Coalition, described Weddington as "very, very well respected by members of the party from all ideological stripes." In 2000, Republicans held 1,600 of the approximately 4,000 elected offices in Texas but all statewide offices. Weddington said that she was determined to bring the party to long-term majority status, with particular emphasis on the Texas State Legislature.[6]

In 2002, Weddington broke with tradition as state chair when she became involved in a heated Republican primary for the Texas State Senate. One of her predecessors, Fred Meyer of Dallas, had pointedly refused to become involved in such primary races but stood with the general election nominees regardless of policy positions.[9] Weddington supported conservative State Representative John Shields of San Antonio in his unsuccessful challenge to incumbent Jeff Wentworth for the District 25 state Senate seat. A strong abortion supporter, Wentworth, nevertheless won once more[7][8] but was unseated a decade later in the 2012 Republican primary by conservative challenger Donna Campbell, a physician from New Braunfels."[10]

When she stepped down as state chairwoman in 2003, her party had gained a firm footing on major political offices in Texas. Weddington for six years then headed the OneStar Foundation, a non-profit organization formed by Governor Perry to connects such organizations with resources and expertise to accomplish their missions and to promote volunteerism,[8][11] she was succeeded as chairwoman by another woman, Tina Benkiser, a lawyer from Houston.

Retirement[edit]

Weddington retired in 2009, and Perry named Elizabeth Seale as her successor at the OneStar Foundation.[12] In the 2010 Republican primary for governor, Weddington came out of retirement to endorse Rick Perry, who defeated two female challengers, including U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, in the Republican gubernatorial primary for his last term in office.[13]

Weddington resides near Fredericksburg with her second husband, George Robert "Bob" Weddington (born December 1932), whom she married on April 1, 1983,[14] she has a son, Sean Ernest Caldwell (born c. 1971) from her first marriage to Joe Daniel Caldwell Sr. (born May 27, 1949), of San Antonio and, currently, Allen in Collin County in north Texas.[15] and two grandchildren.[3][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Susan B. Weddington". vehicle.codes. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Mary Alice Robbins (August 2, 1997). "Texas Republicans elect state's first female party chief". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Elaine Baker". San Antonio Express-News. December 12, 2011. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  4. ^ "Alamo Heights High School (Class of 1969)". ahh69.com. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  5. ^ "Who is James Leininger?". The Texas Tribune. August 26, 2011. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Texas GOP chair has star role". Laredo Morning Times. Archived from the original on March 19, 2015. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Karen Olsson (November 2002). "Mr. Right". Texas Monthly. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c "Susan Weddington". zoominfo.com. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  9. ^ Gromer Jeffers Jr. & Joe Simnacher (September 24, 2012). "Fred Meyer, who built Dallas and Texas GOP into dominant force, dies at age 84". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  10. ^ Parker, Kolten (December 27, 2012). "New Sen. Campbell emphasizes conservatism". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  11. ^ a b "Susan Wedding President/CEO OneStar Foundation". faithworksconference.com. Archived from the original on January 5, 2009. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  12. ^ "San Antonio Exec Named President of OneStar Foundation". Fund Raising Success Magazine. February 12, 2009. Retrieved March 19, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  13. ^ Former Texas GOP Chair Susan Weddington Endorses Gov. Perry for Re-election | Texans for Rick Perry". Rickperry.org. October 15, 2009. Retrieved August 21, 2010
  14. ^ "The Marriage of George Weddington and Susan Baker". texasmarriagerecords.org. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  15. ^ "Joe Daniel Caldwell". intelius.com. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
Preceded by
Tom Pauken
Republican Party of Texas State Chair

Susan Baker Weddington
1997–2003

Succeeded by
Tina Benkiser