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A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Battle for the Soul of the Republican Party

The battle between social moderates and social conservatives is nothing new in Chester County's Republican Party. But my impression is that party leadership tries to keep this battle below the surface.

Last week the battle broke out into the open. Twelve of 20 Republican Committee seats in Chester County's Area 9 -- which is made up of Malvern Borough and Willistown Township -- were contested in Tuesday's primary. A group of candidates who, for convenience, I refer to as "social moderates," won nine of those seats. The remaining three were won by candidates from a group I call "party uniters." I call them this because they say their goal is to create a Republican Party that is accepting of all Republican ideologies.

I was forced to label both of these slates because neither had a formal name. I couldn't call the slates "Slate 1" and "Slate 2." Would've been too confusing.

In any case, I report on this committee battle in an article I wrote for Sunday's paper.

The article has gotten lots of compliments and has made a few people really upset. This means -- although I try to be humble -- that the article might make for a moderately enjoyable read.

Also worth a read is the newspaper column, written by former Republican Committeeman Henry Briggs, which catapulted this conflict into the public eye. When I get a chance, I'll scan in some of the responses to Briggs's column. They appear to have been removed from the internet. (How this can happen, I don't know.)

One note -- in my Sunday article, I incorrectly reported that Sally Cummings held onto her committee seat. In fact, Cummings lost her seat to Helen Hammerschmidt. I regret this error, but it does not affect the numbers -- "social moderates" still won 9 seats, and "party uniters" still won 3.

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