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Local Republican committee reorganizes, lets bygones be bygones

The Butler County Republican Committee met Thursday evening, June 13, to elect a new executive committee and to mend the divisions among the various factions that had formed between the county’s 80,000 registered Republicans. The meeting was held at the Highfield Community Center in Butler.

“At this point in our history, our nation has arrived at a perilous crossroad,” wrote former chairman Chet Jack in a news release. “Do we remain a free people or descend into authoritarian rule? To preserve our republic and way of life, it is imperative that all Republicans unite behind the singular goal of winning the upcoming Presidential and Senate elections.”

Last year, the committee was beset by internal conflicts that effectively split the organization in half. A reorganization meeting was planned for late September, but was canceled after protests from members of one faction.

The meeting on Thursday night was a welcome change, according to newly elected committee chairman James Hulings.

“Everything just went great,” Hulings said. “I would say that we are 99.9% on the same page.”

According to a news release from the newly constituted committee, half the newly elected committee members are first-time election winners. However, there are some recognizable names on the executive committee.

These include state Rep. Marci Mustello, R.-11th, as committee secretary; Ryan Covert as northeast district chairman; and Slippery Rock Borough Mayor Jondavid Longo as northwest district chair.

“Everybody was there with one common goal,” said Longo, who previously served as secretary of the committee. “And that was making sure that we get our Republican candidates over the finish line.”

Hulings, the new committee chairman, is not new to the position. The Harmony native served as chairman six years ago.

“We had a lot of people that have taken a lot of interest in this election, and they wanted to be part of it,” Hulings said. “There was a lot of recruiting that went on.”

Representatives from the state committee were present to oversee the reorganization of the Butler Republicans’ executive committee, a process that took roughly three and a half hours, according to Longo.

“The PA GOP people came in and they did a wonderful job,” Hulings said. “After they were done, they turned the meeting over to the new chairman, and everything just went great.”

Now that the reorganization has finished, Hulings and Longo said their work is far from over.

“At a time in the near future, we will start to discuss strategies on the ground to increase voter registration and voter turnout for Republicans in Butler County,” Longo said.

“We're all going to work together to, one, help Donald Trump get elected,” Hulings said, “and, two, we're going to work as a team to register as many voters as we can to get as many local leaders, like Mike Kelly and Dave McCormick, elected.”

Hulings also said there are some positions on the executive committee not yet filled, particularly for seats representing the rural northern part of the county.

“Some of the communities in the north are lightly populated, so it’s hard to find a person for that job,” Hulings said.

Image via Pixabay

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