Although it is the middle of the summer, the wacky election season is upon us with the Aug. 20 special election approaching.
Two letters to the editor have recently appeared from “Republicans” who have a long history of divisiveness and support of Democrat candidates. They are complaining about the legal process for selecting Republican candidates when a vacancy occurs. Interestingly, these two letter-writers did not complain about the process until their favored candidate, Ben Ranck, was defeated. In fact, the process is exactly as it was during the time Ms. Pat Marolo (Letter to the Editor, Aug. 11) served as county chair over a decade ago, making her current opposition and misinformation campaign perplexing. Obviously, these disgruntled individuals are simply motivated by their desire to now elect a liberal Democrat candidate.
Let me set the record straight. When a vacancy occurs mid-term for an elective office, both parties have their own nomination processes governed by their state party’s by-laws.
When a vacancy occurs for a seat in the state Legislature, the Democrat candidate is named solely by the Pennsylvania State Party chair (currently a woman from Pittsburgh). In stark contrast, the Republican candidate is selected by local Republicans who are appointed by the Republican county chairs in the district. Republicans believe in local control and have a process allowing local Republicans to select their own nominee. The number of delegates from each county is determined solely by the number of votes cast for the Republican presidential candidate in the previous election (not by population as purported by Ms. Marolo). The Republican nominee must have a majority of the votes of the delegates participating in the nomination process.
In the case of the 85th District vacancy, Union County delivered more votes for President Donald Trump. The formula used in the by-laws determined that there would be nine delegates from Union County and eight delegates from Snyder County. I, along with Snyder County Republican Chairman Nick Gingrich, selected delegates who had a solid record of being supportive of Republican candidates and activities. Without question, the delegates selected for any nomination process for a vacancy will always include the elected State Republican Committee members from each county. In this case, they were Pat Saylor from Snyder and John Rowe from Union (both directly elected by Republican voters of their counties in 2016). Other delegates from both counties were elected Republican officeholders, Republican committee members, and valued campaign volunteers.
Although two candidates were placed in nomination, all 17 delegates unanimously selected David Rowe as their nominee. The state Republican Party monitored the nomination process, approved the selection of delegates, chaired the nomination conference and properly certified the nomination of David Rowe. It was exactly the same process that selected Fred Keller as the Republican nominee for the vacancy for Congress.
The only people calling into question the process are the candidates who did not win the nomination, Ben Ranck and Clair Moyer, and those who wish to see Democrats win elections. The fourth candidate for the nomination, Darwin Swope, now supports David Rowe. All delegates from both counties fully support David Rowe. Congressman Fred Keller enthusiastically supports, is campaigning hard for and has endorsed David Rowe. Every elected Republican official in the district supports David Rowe. The Pennsylvania Republican Party fully supports David Rowe. In short, Republicans are united behind David Rowe.
Fellow Republicans should take the attack on the process as good news for our candidate. The Democrats have abandoned campaigning on substantive policy differences to align themselves with disgruntled individuals willing to say things they know to be untrue. They know that a pro-abortion, pro-gun control, a tax-and-spend liberal candidate cannot win the 85th District on the issues, so they need to complain about the process.
Carolyn Conner is the Chairwoman of the Union County Republican Committee.