At age 20, Zach Johnson of Vidor may not be the youngest party chairman in Texas but he figures he’s one of the youngest.

“I was born with a passion. I loved politics since I was a kid. I want to get my bachelor’s in political science (at Lamar University-Beaumont0,” Johnson said. “It’s fun. I enjoy it. I will work my hardest.”

Though he’s still too young to drink, Johnson will take over the reigns of the Orange County Republican Party in June and his name will appear on the November General Election ballot. Until then, present chairwoman Trudy Pellerin is still running elections and the county convention.

Johnson has never been to a convention and looks forward to it as a learning experience.

In addition to his new duties, Johnson is also a part-tiime student at Lamar State College-Orange, he works part-time for his parent’s contracting business, and he’s also campaign manager for county court at law candidate, Rodney Townsend.

“I’ve been in the party for three years. I got involved after the ‘08 election,” Johnson said. “I worked on my first campaign in the 8th Grade when we lived in Colmesneil. The guy I worked for was the first Republican county judge elected in Colmesneil in 2006. We also have a few church members who serve as justices of the peace.”

Johnson said everyone in the OC GOP has been really supportive and positive. He added Pellerin has been a big supporter of his and she’s really happy and grateful Johnson is taking over the party.

Philosophically, Johnson is a conservative — he believes in smaller government and less taxes. He added he’s also a social conservative and his values align with the Republican Party.

The Orange County Republican Party, however, is open to everyone, he said.

“I’m a Republican, not a tea partyer. I supported them at first when they started, but now they’re running candidates against good incumbents,” he said.”I like to work together with people.”

The OC Republicans have the most candidates ever for a primary — 14 vying for office. His focus will be bringing the party together and getting Republicans elected in November.

“We have people running in all kinds of races. I have a lot of work to do, especially with a new congressional district (District 36) coming in,” he said

In fact, with 12 candidates running for Congress in the district, Johnson foresees a run-off election after the May 29 primary election.

Johnson has also met some members of the Orange County Democratic Party and said he doesn’t want any dirty campaigning.

After graduating from college, Johnson plans to go to law school, possibly in Houston.

“I haven’t decided where I will go. I plan to practice general law and I may run for office one day,” he said.