Local Politics | Battle for control of Montgomery County GOP, plus both parties resist coverage of their endorsement conventions (but one is worse)

Local Politics is an as-needed column on the political scene in Montgomery County filled with speculation, opinion, and more.

As MoreThanTheCurve.com first reported, Elizabeth Preate Havey resigned as chair of the Montgomery County Republican Committee earlier this month. She had held the position since 2018.

In our column, we reported that Plymouth Whitemarsh High School graduate Christian Nascimento (pictured left), a former unsuccessful candidate for Congress, was a likely candidate to succeed Havey. Last week, Whitemarsh Township resident Stan Casacio (pictured right) announced his candidacy on Chris Stigall’s Philadelphia’s Morning Answer on AM 990 The Answer.

The new chair of the Montgomery County Republican Committee is set to be determined during the party’s endorsement convention at a King of Prussia hotel on March 1st. In the radio interview, Casacio called for a delay of up to 30 days for the county committee to determine its new leader and have a debate with all those seeking to be chair. You can listen to Casacio’s interview here.

One thing we would like to point out. In Havey’s resignation letter to the area Republicans, she highlights what she believes are her accomplishments. One involves support to the local committees and candidates (our area of focus). She states:

We have refocused our efforts down to the township level, creating a separate fund where we raised and contributed over $300k to local candidates. We provided trainings for our local candidates, produced election materials, and organized campaign events at the local level across our county made up of 62 municipalities. Although we may not have won as many races as we would have liked because of the changing demographics we did help local townships win that are democrat in registration, and we taught our candidates and our committees how to FIGHT!

We have to point out, the Conshohocken, Plymouth Township, and Whitemarsh Township committees do not have websites that work. You can’t compete if you can’t even do the basics right. So $300,000 went right down the drain. We only really follow the areas we cover. Maybe great work is being done elsewhere? The Cheltenham and Abington committees do have functional websites.

Coverage of Conventions

This past week, we emailed Julia Vahey, the executive director of the Montgomery County Republican Committee, asking what we needed to do to cover the March 1st event. She responded with, “This is a closed meeting, and no press is invited to attend.”

In Havey’s resignation letter (linked above), she informs Republicans that the meeting is closed and that the committee had hired security to deal with anyone who disrupts the meeting.

The Montgomery County Democratic Committee recently held its endorsement convention and allowed media to attend, but did not permit audio or video recording of the meeting. Gerry Mander Senker, who publishes This is Lower Merion and Narberth, was told by a party official to stop taping or leave (video below).

One caveat is that the Democrats held their meeting in a public building (Colonial Middle School), while the Republicans are renting a hotel ballroom. But do the local Republicans really want to be less transparent than a Jason Salus-led Democratic Party?

But either way, the meetings should be public and taping should be allowed. What exactly do they not want you to see?

Photos: Christian Nascimento’s Facebook page. Stan Casacio’s Facebook page.