Gleason Wants Another Term at PAGOP

Rob Gleason

Rob Gleason wants another four years at the helm of the Pa. Republican Party, he wrote in a letter to state committee members. He and Vice Chair Joyce Haas are seeking another term.

“We are again asking for your support so we can continue to move our Party forward to tackle the important issues of the next four years,” they said, including re-electing Governor Tom Corbett and the 13 GOP members of Congress, as well as expanding on Republican majorities in the state House and Senate.

Since he took the position in 2006, the GOP has had high ups and low downs. It’s 2010 cycle was phenomenal, after 2006 and 2008 cycles that were horrendous. The party finished 2012 with historic majorities in the state House and congressional delegation, but having lost every statewide office for the first time in decades, if ever.

The Pa. Republican state committee elects its leadership every four years during its winter meeting after a presidential election (scheduled for February in Harrisburg).

Democrats elect their leadership in the gubernatorial cycle. Jim Burn has chaired the party since 2010.

So far, PoliticsPA has heard only scant rumors of opposition to another Gleason term. No name has surfaced as a potential opponent. He’s well regarded by most members of state committee and an ally of the Governor, so a direct frontal challenge would face a very slim chance of success.

Some have mentioned Chester County GOP Chair Val DiGiorgio as a potential successor, but not as a challenger.

The letter recounts GOP accomplishments since Gleason and Haas took their positions in June of 2006, when former chair Eileen Melvin retired. Electing Corbett and Sen. Pat Toomey topped the list, as well as the majority in the congressional delegation (Only Texas, Florida and California have more Republican members of Congress than Pa., they note, and at 72 percent of the delegation the PAGOP is proportionally better than those states).

During the off-year elections of 2009 and 2011, the party captured 51 of 67 county courthouses and elected 7 judges to Democrats’ two.

Gleason’s biggest success, said one Republican operative, isn’t the win/loss column during his tenure. It’s his fundraising. He and Haas have helped bring in over $55 million and formed a modern, professional party.

In the long run, the GOP has some tough demographic obstacles to overcome if the party is to stand a serious chance of going red, as Gleason says it can in 2016. But he and Haas point to an unlikely source for inspiration: Nate Silver of the New York Times. They cited this article and said, “we could be the path forward for the next Republican President.”

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