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Welch Takes Flak for PAGOP Endorsement Practices

There has long been tension between movement conservatives and the party establishment about the practice of endorsements. Now, it looks like Steve Welch is going to have to deal with it.

Conservative grassroots are particularly angry about PAGOP rules prohibiting non-endorsed candidates from speaking at official party events – even at the county level. Welch was asked during a recent appearance on “On the Mark,” with Sunbury’s news leader, 1070AM WKOK. The video made the rounds on Wednesday among activists who oppose endorsements.

Though diplomatic, he did not criticize the PAGOP’s policy.

“I’ll leave it up to the state GOP how to handle state GOP business,” Welch said. “I will tell you there’s clearly going to be a primary. I think it’s disingenuous the people that are out there saying this is making it so there’s no primary – there’s no competitive primary. There’s a gentleman in this race who’s put in $5 million of his own money, so there’s definitely going to be a primary.”

The conservative v. establishment conflict was heightened in the wake of state committee’s support of Sen. Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey in 2004. With the rise of the tea party movement, opponents of endorsements got louder (though ironically, there were very few complaints when state committee endorsed Toomey in 2010).

There were numerous protesters at the endorsement meeting in January. Among them were members of the Independence Hall Tea Party based in Philadelphia. That group started a “Squelch Welch” campaign in advance of the meeting, and a spokesman said it would continue in the wake of the endorsement.

In the interest of fairness, we note that almost every candidate sought the endorsement of GOP state committee. Here’s what each of them did:

David Christian, a businessman and veterans’ advocate from Bucks County, attended several PAGOP regional caucuses and the endorsement meeting itself, where he went room to room Saturday morning to meet committee members. He was not nominated for the endorsement.

John Kensinger, a pharmacist from Bedford, attended the endorsement meeting itself, where he went room to room Saturday morning to meet committee members. He was not nominated for the endorsement.

Sam Rohrer, a former State Rep. from Berks County, was the un-endorsed candidate when he sought the GOP’s gubernatorial nomination in 2010. But this year, he hosted a handful of events for state committee members at regional caucuses and the main meeting, attended each regional meeting, and went room to room Saturday morning to meet committee members. He also, in late January, began a campaign in favor of an open primary. He was nominated for the endorsement.

Marc Scaringi, an attorney from Cumberland County and former aide to Sen. Rick Santorum, hosted several ice cream social events at state committee meetings starting in the winter 2011 meeting. He attended each regional caucus meeting, and went room to room Saturday morning to meet committee members. He was nominated for the endorsement.

Tom Smith, a former coal company owner and tea party leader from Armstrong County, hosted several events for state committee members around the state including at the endorsement meeting itself. He attended each regional caucus meeting, and went room to room Saturday morning to meet committee members. At no point did he instruct his significant number of state committee supporters to vote for an open primary. He was nominated for the endorsement.

Welch, an entrepreneur from Chester County who ran for Congress in 2010, hosted a handful of events for state committee members at regional caucuses and the main meeting, attended each regional meeting, and went room to room Saturday morning to meet committee members.

“I find it a little bit hypocritical, candidly, for candidates the come out and trot out endorsements from organizations and then say it’s not OK for the state party to endorse,” Welch said.

The PAGOP state committee voted 201 to 140 in favor of making an endorsement; Welch won it on the first ballot.

And while we’re on the subject of Steve Welch YouTube clips, here’s him debating Scaringi about the gold standard:

16 Responses

  1. The PAGOP will find out “We The People” will vote our own minds, not what they dictate to us. I will be voting for Sam Rohrer.

  2. Steve Welch did not run for congress in 2010. He was attempting to run but when Jim Gerlach decided not to run for governor and to run again for his seat in congress, Steve back out at the endorsement convention before the votes for endorsement were cast– so he never ran for anything to this point.

  3. Out on a limb here but if you aren’t inclined to vote for Steve Welch then don’t. Problem solved.

    If you are looking for an articulate constitutional conservative pick Sam Rohrer (my choice) or Marc Scaringi (another pretty good choice).

    We should think of the competitive primary as a way to develop our bench. Not all of our candidates are ready for the big leagues, but maybe one day they will be.

  4. Welch fits in well with the RINOs in the State GOP. He might as well hail from Bucks County with all the RINOs here.

  5. Now that Mr. Welsh has been anointed by the PAGOP and the Governor of our great state, we the people need to seriously send a message to the party elite and Governor Corbett that we will not sit quietly while a few people decide, without the opinion and voice of the voter, who will be the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.

    Mr. Welsh has no political experience; his only experience is making deals behind the scenes to get this endorsement, nothing more and nothing less. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that he, Mr. Welsh, is a Democrat, that has actively fundraised for President Obama and Joe Sestak and now that he sees an opportunity may available to ‘purchase’ a Senate seat, he conveniently announces that he is now a conservative Republican. He is no more a conservative Republican than Obama is a moderate Democrat. In political terms, Mr. Welsh is a R.I.N.O. a Republican in name only. Mark my words; if, God forbid, he is elected to the Senate, within one month of being sworn in, he will change back to the Democratic Party, especially if the balance of power in the Senate is close. Do we really want to give control back to the liberal Democrats and the failed policies of Harry Reid? Do we really want to take a chance that if President Obama is re-elected, that he can be given a blank check to further eviscerate our civil liberties and bring us ever closer to the socialist republic that the Democrats so desperately want? Electing a Rino to the Senate makes this more of a possibility.

    Pennsylvanians must unequivocally send a message to the political machine, the Governor and the PAGOP that we are mad and we will not stand for such manipulative, back-room politics. This man is not qualified to run as a Republican for dog catcher, much less to run as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

    If you, the citizens of Pennsylvania, agree with this assessment, then let us all send a clear message and vote for anyone of the candidates running in the GOP primary, other than Mr. Welsh. Clearly, handing him a decisive loss in the primary will send a definitive message to the PAGOP and the Governor that a seat in the U.S. Senate cannot be bought, for any price.

    God bless America and God bless the great state of Pennsylvania.

  6. The “Gold Standard” is not a vote moving issue.
    Jobs for us and jobs for the kids now out of school who are not finding work commensurate with education and ability. And are living at home or subsidized by parents. Not what we expected or they. They are paying to Social Security Medicare, Medicaid programs from which they are not benefiting. Why should they pay for something they are not going to get?

    Jobs and the economy and the underlying drivers of slow growth : government spending, deficits, debt, fiscally unsustainable entitlements and related issues of bailouts, TARP, Cash for Clunkers. Trillions have been spent and the growth of jobs has been thin. Despite government statistics showing lower unemployment and jobs created, more people are out of work than ever before. A contradiction that has not been noted. Lower Unemployment and More People out of work.

    The Heritage Dependency Index reported at the Washington Times gives some idea of the extent that out of control Welfare Statist policies have undercut the American work ethic.

    Nation of Moochers
    Availability of lavish federal benefits destroys work incentive

    ” The more we delay bringing our books into balance, the closer our problems resemble those that have crippled Europe. Going by the latest Index of Dependence on Government, released by the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday, we may already be a lot closer to Greece than we thought.”

  7. Lou Petilicchio stated it well at Pennsylvania Town Hall
    His conclusion:

    “Only one thing is sure – the endorsed candidate has earned the righteous wrath of the grassroots Republicans who are the ones who ultimately will decide who should run against Bob Casey. And only time will tell how many current state Republican committee people will be returned to that post when they are up for re-election.”

  8. This can be spun any way you like. The bottom line is this endorsement was a strong arming process. Anyone who was there or watched it on PCN knows exactly what happened and to frame it any other way is a skewed account.

  9. Ronald Reagan: “Bring back the gold standard.”
    Steve Welch: “I don’t understand what the problem is.”

  10. Dear Steve Welch,
    Do you consider the lead up to the state committee’s nomination to have been an “organic process?”

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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