Both of the April 21 gatherings will elect delegates to the state GOP convention, scheduled July 7-9 in Ft. Worth--but the credentials committee there will decide which of the two delegations to seat.
Ambrose has called a convention for 1 p.m. at the Gilmer Civic Center, while precinct chairmen on the county's Executive Committee are expected to schedule a convention for 10 a.m. that day at the Disabled American Veterans headquarters, located near the civic center on U.S. 271.
Members of the executive committee were scheduled to meet Tuesday (after The Mirror's deadline for this issue) to determine the time of day and site.
Contacted by The Mirror Tuesday about the rival conventions, Republican Party of Texas spokesman Chris Elam said he would "probably have to let you speak to my chairman (state GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri) about this." Munisteri had not contacted The Mirror by the newspaper's deadline for this article.
Elam said that under state party rules, the county Republican chairman is the temporary chairman of the county convention.
Cynthia Ridgeway, a precinct chairman and one of Ambrose's two opponents for re-election in the May 29 Republican primary, said 37 delegates attending the precinct conventions elected 62 delegates to the county convention to be held at the DAV building.
The precinct conventions also approved numerous resolutions to be considered at that county convention, said Mrs. Ridgeway, who is recognized by several precinct chairmen (but not Ambrose) as the Upshur GOP's vice-chairman. Chuck Mears opposes her and Ambrose in the race for county chair.
Normally, precinct conventions are held on the night of the party primary election, and before the county convention. But this year, due to federal litigation, the primary election was delayed from its originally-scheduled March 6 date to May 29--which is 38 days after the county conventions.
Because the election is coming "so late on the calendar, the RPUC (Republican Party Upshur County) acted in accordance with RPT (Republican Party of Texas) rules for the 2012 cycle in voting to forego precinct conventions and move straight to the county convention," Ambrose said in a news release.
Ambrose has also said he was following state Chairman Munisteri's recommendation to merge the precinct and county conventions, but Mrs. Ridgeway said she was unaware of Munisteri making any statement that precinct conventions shouldn't be held.
Before Saturday's gatherings, she said the RPT approved the Upshur precinct conventions and posted them on the state party's website.
However, Elam said Tuesday that the fact that the precinct conventions were posted on the state party's "informational" website "doesn't indicate either way what we thought about" their legitimacy.
Informed of Elam's comments, Mrs. Ridgeway said the precinct conventions were called under state party rules allowing the county executive committee to call them.
Mrs. Ridgeway said Tuesday she was "excited" over the turnout for Saturday's gatherings. "I thought it was excellent in light" of "confusion" over whether they could be held, and when the party primary would be held, she said.
On Sunday, Ambrose had said, "I'm not saying anything about what they've (precinct convention participants) done." He said he set the date for the county GOP convention according to party rules, and that it is a "combined precinct and county convention" in which all attendees are delegates.
He said any Upshur County registered voter could participate at the convention he called as long as they both sign and take a verbal oath of affiliation to the Republican Party. He has also issued a news release seeking resolutions to be brought before his April 21 convention.
Mrs. Ridgeway said she expects to preside over the April 21 gathering at the DAV since she doesn't expect Ambrose to attend. She said there is a provision in party rules for what to do if the county chairman doesn't appear at a county convention.
At one of Saturday's precinct conventions, for the Pct. 15 northwest Gilmer area, two of the four delegates present were elected as delegates to the April 21 convention at the DAV. The Pct. 15 gathering also approved seven resolutions, six of them by unanimous vote, to be presented to the April 21 conclave.
Joe Dodd, a precinct chairman on the county GOP Executive Committee, chaired the Pct. 15 convention, which elected Mickey Denton and Thomas Osborne as delegates to the April 21 meeting. Also attending the 75-minute Pct. 15 meeting was Bradley Ellison.
Dodd, a foe of Ambrose, told the group there would be two county conventions because Ambrose had set one on his own without bringing it before the executive committee. Dodd said Ambrose's "faction" of the Upshur GOP was "much, much smaller" than the one supported by Dodd.
"We're under the impression that the state Republican Party will recognize the delegation from our convention," Dodd added. (Ambrose has said he expects his convention's delegation to be accepted.)
Among the resolutions passed by the Pct. 15 convention were one asking the state GOP to support clarification of whatever legislative revision would clarify procedures for removing a county polical party chairman, and prescribing limits on his/her duties.
Other resolutions approved were to ban the use of foreign law in Texas state courts; to support a bill for school choice; and to oppose mandatory use of "smart meters" which could enable utility companies to ration electricity to homes.
The other resolutions opposed establishing United Nations "World Heritage" sites in Texas; supported exposinge the U.N.'s "Agenda 21" plan; and supported retaining the electoral college in Presidential elections, rather than having Presidents elected only by popular vote.