Waco surgeon Dr. Brad Holland, a longtime Republican party activist, will run to become McLennan County Republican Party chairman when the primary election rolls around in March, Holland said Tuesday.

The current chairman, retired Army Col. Jon Ker, has announced his intention to step down when he completes his second term in June.

Ker hopes to run for a position on the State Republican Executive Committee from Senate District 22, which stretches across 11 counties, including McLennan, and is represented by Brian Birdwell of Granbury, Holland said via email.

In a press release, Holland, 48, a Colorado native who moved to Texas in 1993 to attend medical school, said Republicans have a fight on their hands against “dangerous people and ideas gaining more and more attention.”

“People are actually advocating socialism,” he wrote in the press release.

Holland, a board-certified head and neck surgeon, has practiced in Waco 17 years. He is vice chair of the McLennan County Republican Party, and is a past chairman of the McLennan County Republican Club. He has been a precinct chair for many years and has twice served as chairman of the McLennan County Republican Convention, according to his press release.

The county chairman for the party is responsible for holding the primary election, staffing of election judges, and conducting the county and precinct conventions. The chairman also oversees educational, social and philanthropic events with the local party, and assists party candidates.

In a phone interview, Holland said Republicans can take nothing for granted as the 2020 presidential election approaches.

“We’re going to fight for everything we get, with elbow grease and new ideas,” he said. “My number one priority is getting out the vote. We will use an infusion of technology and, frankly, some infrastructure improvements to target voters and become a well-oiled machine in McLennan County. We hope to get voters to the polls in a digital way. Absolutely, 2020 is a big election. We hope to contribute to the success of all Republican candidates.”

Holland said President Donald Trump, in his opinion, continues to enjoy a solid base of support among Republicans. He said running against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination “would be futile.”

He said Republicans should, and will, maintain a united front.

“Our concern is not about in-fighting, but about outright socialists and their stances, their bashing of what a large swath of this country believes,” Holland said.

Immigration and border security must remain priorities, and Washington, D.C., remains a corrupt swamp in need of draining, he said.

The decision by U.S. Rep. Bill Flores not to seek re-election may serve to generate more interest in local elections among Republicans who may not previously have considered running for Flores’ seat, he said.

Flores, a Bryan Republican, represents a district that includes McLennan County.

“With Democrats moving increasingly to the left, I am confident we can form a coalition of support for Republicans. … We have to do more to keep Republicans in the majority locally, and I think we are up to the task,” Holland said.

Holland and his wife, Amanda, have four children and live in Waco.

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