Texas GOP Loses Grassroots Leader Daniel McCool
HOUSTON, Texas—Just last Saturday, Daniel McCool was elected by the delegates of the Senate District 11 to be their representative on the Republican Party of Texas State Republican Executive Committee (SREC). Less than one week later, his family, friends, loved ones and fellow Republicans are gathering in prayer to remember a man who was taken from us much too quickly. Daniel died Friday evening of a sudden heart attack shortly after coming home from his shift working traffic control in his job as a Harris County Deputy Sheriff.
This reporter spoke with Dan last weekend in Fort Worth at the Republican Party of Texas State Convention and Gala. He was very excited about his election to serve his fellow Republicans on the SREC. He looked happy and healthy and ready to begin the fight to elect Republicans in this fall’s general election. The photo above was taken of Daniel and his love, Leonila Olivares at the Party’s Gala. Now he is gone but he will not be forgotten by those he loved and those he worked with.
I met Daniel when he was running for State Senator in the 2012 Republican Primary. He was running a hard fought campaign against then State Representative Larry Taylor. Daniel lost that election, but did not slow down for a moment in continuing his work for the Republican Party he loved. When the word came out that Democrats were planning a campaign to turn Texas blue, Daniel responded with his own campaign, “Fight like a Texan”. He went to work and formed several new grassroots clubs in southeast Harris County and deeply engaged in the fight to defend Texas in the shadow of the San Jacinto Monument where he lived, worked and helped spread the Republican message.
Almost one year ago, the San Jacinto Republican Women’s Club honored Daniel for his work and achievements in southeast Harris County on behalf of Republican candidates. Over the past couple of years, it is hard to remember a Republican event in Harris County that Dan was not present for and actively working the room.
Today, his Facebook page is filling with comments from those who knew, loved and worked with him. Sandi Paulus, a graphic artist who builds websites and campaign literature for Republicans said, “His big, ol’ Texas heart just stopped. Daniel, I miss you. I thought I loved America. I thought I loved Texas. You inspired me to do more, to fight even harder for them.”
Carole Alexander commented, “You were a light in the Republican Party. You always had time to help in any way you could.”
Rex Teter served as the SREC member for the neighboring SD 6 until he was term limited out last weekend. “I first met Daniel McCool when his son Jacob started attending the school where I was teaching” Teter said. “Jacob was in kindergarten and attended my music class. I saw Daniel with the “right brand” of stickers on his car, and we began our friendship and shared our love of conservative, Republican politics and governing. I found out years later that I had heard of Daniel from a friend who had become involved in the community watch program….it just took a while for me to realize it was the same person.
“Daniel was always full of energy and made the best of any situation,” Teter continued. “My life has been blessed because of Daniel and his children Jacob and Abigail, and he will be missed by Leonila, his children, his family and his extended Republican family.”
Elected officials are also reaching out to express their thoughts on Dan’s passing. Last summer Lt. Governor David Dewhurst was invited to attend a 4th of July parade. The decision to attend this particular event in SD 11 was made late and it was discovered there wasn’t a float available for the Lt. Governor to ride on. In a matter of hours Dan designed and built a beautiful float and Dewhurst and his supporters road through the parade and met the people along the way.
Governor Dewhurst learned of Dan’s death while he was traveling in Europe. He reached out to Breitbart Texas and said, “I am shocked and deeply saddened at the recent passing of Daniel McCool. Daniel was truly committed to giving back to his community as a veteran deputy of the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, treasurer of the Texas Crime Prevention Association, and though his engagement in civic and political affairs. My heart and prayers go out to his family and those who loved him.”
Texas State Senator Larry Taylor, who defeated Daniel in the 2012 Republican Primary, expressed shock at the sudden death of this tireless worker. “I am shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of my friend Daniel,” Taylor said sadly. “He will be greatly missed by his family, his friends and by our Party. Daniel was truly a servant of the people who gave his all.”
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia responded to a request for comment, saying, “We at the HCSO family are truly saddened by the sudden loss of Dep. Dan McCool. He was a 24 year veteran of the HCSO.”
“We are grateful for his service to our agency and the citizens of Harris County,” Garcia said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Dep. McCool’s family, friends and colleagues.”
Steve Munisteri, Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas said, “I was saddened to learn today of the passing of SREC member Dan McCool. I had the privilege of speaking multiple times to the Republican club which Dan was a member of. He was a dedicated and hard working Republican who will be sorely missed by the party.”
“I was looking forward to working with Dan who was just elected last Friday to the State Republican Executive Committee,” Munisteri continued. “On behalf of the Republican Party of Texas I wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to Dan’s family, loved ones, and friends. He will be missed.”
Outgoing Harris County GOP Chairman, Jared Woodfil, worked closely with Daniel for many years. “Daniel was a true grassroots warrior,” Woodfil expressed. “His leadership resulted in numerous Republican being elected. He understood that you grow a party, not by compromising on what you believe, but instead, by taking your values and beliefs to those communities that had not traditionally voted Republican.”
“He didn’t just walk the talk,” Woodfil said, “he walked and walked, creating Republican clubs in areas where none had existed. He will be deeply missed, but his hard work will have a lasting impact.”
Incoming Harris County GOP Chair Paul Simpson, who officially takes office on Monday, also expressed his thoughts on Daniel. “Daniel — a good man, a loyal friend, and a true patriot,” Simpson said. “I’m gonna miss you. We all will. Fare well with The Lord, Daniel. My prayers are with your family.”
Simpson went on to say, “The Republican Party lost a valiant leader when Daniel McCool passed on.”
Big Jolly Politics blogger, David Jennings called Daniel “the activist’s activist” in a tribute on his website. “Some days you want to crawl back in bed and pretend that the news you heard upon wakening was just part of a nightmare,” Jennings said. “Today is one of those days for me when I woke up to the news that my friend Daniel McCool, Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy and Republican political activist.”
“When he ran for the Texas Senate in 2012,” Jennings continued, “he self-funded the bulk of his campaign because he wanted to be truly independent and refused to take money from the insurance lobby or the trial lawyers. He was so proud of his election last week to be the SREC committeeman for SD11 because the party activists that elected him recognized his years of volunteer work for the cause of conservative Republicans.”
Houston conservative radio talk-show host Michael Berry paid tribute to Daniel during his show this morning. “Daniel was a guy who was always doing something,” Berry began, “organizing events, organizing a voter drive, helping a candidate to win an election, helping to raise money for something, or taking an extra job. He was the guy that if you needed people to go to the capitol to protest a bad law he would make twenty calls to see who he could get to join him, but he was going to drive. He would go pick up anybody that needed to be picked up. He was never too proud to do whatever needed to be done to get it done.”
You can hear Michael Berry’s entire statement by visiting his radio archive.
I spoke this morning with a deeply shocked and saddened Leonila Olivares whom Daniel was planning on asking to be his wife later this month. She was with him when he returned home from work last night, not feeling well. He collapsed in her living room chair and she called 911. The ambulance was only just down the street and the hospital was walking distance. Despite the efforts of the paramedics and doctors, Daniel could not be saved and we have lost a friend and fellow Republican.
Leonila echoed what many have said about Daniel. “He had a servant’s heart,” she said. Leonila said Daniel taught her much, but most of all, he taught her to fight for what she believed in.
“Daniel recently bought ‘Vote Red’ license plates for his car,” she said. “He so much wanted to be in the fight to keep Texas red. We must now do that for him.”
Daniel McCool – friend, patriot, Texan, father, Republican… Rest in Peace
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter: @BobPriceBBTX.
PEARLAND TEA PARTY NOTE:
Dan was a friend to the Pearland TEA Party and we will miss him deeply!!!
God Bless his Love Leonila, his children and his family!!!