Saturday, November 06, 2010

Local GOP victory lap

Luzerne County Republicans will host a Victory Party from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, at Genetti Hotel & Conference Center, 77 E. Market St., Wilkes-Barre.
Special guests are Congressmen-Elect Lou Barletta, 11th District, and Tom Marino, 10th District... For more information go to the website,

They are rightly crowing about helping to put the statewide and congressional candidates over the top but the real story is what is happening in the down ballot races. In 2008 the Republicans didn't have one candidate run against the 5 incumbent Democratic State Representatives in Luzerne County. This time around they put up a full slate and were very competitive in the 119th and 120th districts and even knocked off the the Democratic House leader in the 116th although I think that had more to do with Todd Eachus getting beat up by the local papers for flying around on Robert Powell's jet than the merits of Tarah Toohill. But a win is a win. Last year they won 2 of the 3 county row offices after losing every contest in 2007.

Three things have helped change their fortunes. The election of Terry Casey as chairman of the party, the hiring of Renita Fennick as Executive Director and the financial backing of a few donors that always gave money to state and federal GOP candidates but usually skipped the local elections or gave to Democrats because that is where the smart money went.

The back mountain money boys have made it possible to have a full time, year round campaign office in Wilkes-Barre with Renita operating the nuts and bolts. From what I'm told Casey has been a good recruiter and has been able to smooth over the internal divisions of the various factions and got them to work toward a common goal.

For all the hand ringing over the lack of guaranteed minority representation in the new Luzerne County Home Rule Charter it looks like the Republicans will win some seats.

On to 2011.

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