By Dick Gould
I want to tell you a story.
Three years ago my wife and I, as solid Reagan Republicans, were tired of yelling at the TV, watching our country as we know it slip away towards socialism, and we were worried about our kids’ future. We decided to attend a Flag Day ceremony on the courthouse steps in West Chester, and we took the kids as an educational experience to learn about our country. There we met a number of interesting people including Sheriff Bunny Welsh who was the impetus for us to try to make a positive difference by running for Republican committeepersons in our precinct. In the five years that we had lived on Valley Forge Mountain, we had never met our committee people, had no idea who they were, nor had we ever had any political literature or sample ballots delivered to our house, so we knew we could do a better job and perhaps help move the needle towards getting more good Republicans elected.
So we ran in 2012 and found out some people in West Chester didn’t like concerned independent-minded newcomers, but would rather appoint their own who might then feel obligated to act and endorse as they were told. For two years we worked hard and we believe we have made a difference in our community with fund raising and new creative ideas.
Earlier this year, when I saw that I was being challenged in the primary, I thought “Fine, that’s our system. Let’s see if he can do a better job than I can.” However, we quickly realized this was a well-organized, professionally managed and funded effort. We spent $66 through Vistaprint for some palm cards, plus we had to fork out $100 just to get our names on our own Republican sample ballot. My opponent had professionally designed and edited literature and an extensive mailing campaign of red, white and blue glossies with our GOP elephant emblem on them, all paid for by the United Republicans of Chester County. They probably spent around $2000 just against me. He even had his own committeeman lawn signs.
So I started digging into this United Republicans of Chester County. And please, don’t take my word for any of this, it is all easily verifiable through the internet and through your own contacts and political friends. United Republicans targeted and tried to unseat dozens of Reagan Republican committeepersons in this past Chester County Primary. United Republicans is run by a guy named Alex Rahn who was the former SE PA Political Director for Arlen Specter, who was obviously not a Reagan Republican. Rahn is also a committeeman in Honeybrook and he happens to attend an awful lot of the Republican Committee of Chester County executive meetings. I was told that Alex Rahn was running a “black ops” campaign to get rid of committeepeople who would not get in line. In their efforts to purge people like me, the United Republicans hired help to call and to vet potential candidates to run. Another committeeperson in Chester County answered a robocall from the United Republicans and after “correctly” answering all of the vetting questions, asked who ran the organization and got the response “Alex Rahn and Rob Brooks”. Neighbors told us that our own Area Chair endorsed my United Republicans’ opponent.
By the way, the United Republicans of Chester County is an unregistered political entity that probably spent between $25,000 and $50,000 on their operations so far. But unregistered means that there is also no public record of political funding. I question where the United Republicans funding came from. I would rather use that money to work against the Democrats.
If this were a plan hatched by the Democrats to fracture our party, it would be flat out brilliant. Is this what causes us to lose elections? Of the dozen or so races contested by the United Republicans, near as we can tell they lost just about every one by huge margins, strong evidence that voters are repulsed by their divisive attacks. I ended up winning my race 136-54. By the way, I called up my opponent after the election to congratulate him on a hard fought campaign. I don’t fault him because he was just a pawn in this scheme, and he is eager to deliver some literature bags for us in his neighborhood.
Does our Republican leadership work harder against its’ own Reagan Conservative Core than it does against the Democrats? I’m speaking out because I think that sunlight is the best disinfectant. What I really want to do is to help the best possible Republican candidates win on every level. The system works best when it is fair and honest.
Mr. Gould is the GOP Committeeman for Tredyffrin Ward 5 in Chester County.