Two Valley counties officially censured U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey this week, joining a growing chorus of counties across the commonwealth rebuking the Republican lawmaker.
Northumberland and Snyder County Republican committees voted to censure Toomey for “his continual actions taken against his constituents and the constitution," on Thursday night.
Toomey last Saturday became one of seven Republicans who voted to convict former President Donald Trump of "incitement of insurrection," even though the vote to convict ultimately fell 10 votes short of the two-thirds majority, or 67, necessary in the U.S. Senate.
Pennsylvania's GOP chair, Lawrence Tabas, promptly emailed state party committee members to tell them he was planning a meeting to discuss the Senate's action. That meeting — if it happens — is expected to involve a censure resolution, as a wave of county parties have already voted to censure Toomey.
"I understand that most Republicans probably disagree with the conclusion that I came to," Toomey said during a Thursday radio appearance on WPHT-AM in Philadelphia. "I don't think it's a good idea for the party to be deciding that they're going to censure a particular elected Republican over a particular vote, and I think it sends a bad message to the many Republicans, even if they're in the minority, the many Republicans who do agree with what I've done here."
The actions that led to the decision to censure include Toomey are led by his vote to convict Trump during the impeachment trial as well as Toomey’s stance on certain Second Amendment legislation, Northumberland County chair Deb Betz said.
“As a party, we have to be more unified and start making sure we back our Republican party leaders instead of condemning them and betraying them and the whole committee itself,” said Betz. “It’s a shame it’s gotten to this point."
"We would like to thank all our constituents across Snyder County for their input on this matter; and based on your resounding call to action, we believed that it was necessary to censure Senator Toomey at the county level with the understanding that this action also needs to be done at the state level as well," Robatin said. "As counties across the commonwealth have united around this resolve to censure, we are confident that a vote of the PAGOP state committee will take place in the near future."
The Snyder County GOP committee's vote to censure Toomey was unanimous, Robatin said.
The "Notice of Censure," agreed upon by the committee noted eight grievances, including that he "voted against acquitting President Donald J. Trump in the politically motivated Senate impeachment trial, inflicting tremendous damage to the Pennsylvania GOP and the Republican committees of all 67 counties in the commonwealth. Combined with his previous attacks on America’s Second Amendment, Senator Patrick Joseph Toomey, Jr. continues to use the Republican banner while actively working against conservative values, principles, and elected Republicans in public office."
Quiet at state level
Tabas and the party brass have kept silent this week, as Toomey supporters have begun to push back.
A state committee member from Erie County, Jezree Friend, emailed members to try to talk them out of holding a censure vote.
The party should not require a "Trump litmus test" to show loyalty, he said, calling it divisive, damaging to a necessary "big tent" culture and a hallmark of "cancel culture."
Sam DeMarco, the chair of the Allegheny County Republican Party, said he sees the "bloodthirst" to punish Toomey as counterproductive if the party is to attract new members and concentrate on winning races in the future.
For his part, Toomey said on KDKA-AM radio on Thursday that the party can't look the other way when a president "tries terrible and illegal and unconstitutional means of staying in power."
"That's not acceptable, that's not conservative, that's not Republican," he told the Pittsburgh station.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.