The Lebanon County GOP has a new committee chairman.
Lebanon resident Edward Lynch Jr., who was endorsed by outgoing chairman Casey Long, held off a bid for the seat by fellow committeeman William Dougherty. Both men have served on the committee and the executive committee, and both have orchestrated successful political campaigns for state and local officials.
Republican Committee members conducted their reorganization meeting Thursday at the Lincoln Republican Club on South 9th Street.
“I felt confident,” Lynch said Friday morning. “I’ve been on the committee for 18 years, I know almost everyone on it. I already had relationships established.”
Having secured a two-year stint as chairman, Lynch promised to “represent the party a professional and honorable manner.”
With that election out of the way, Lynch said the fall election is his No. 1 priority. He also wants to increase the committee’s fundraising capabilities, he said – and rethink how campaigns are run now that Act 77 has opened the door to more mail-in voting.
In the June primary, Lynch said, 12,000 people voted using mail-in ballots. So, he said, “moving forward, you have to run two campaigns. You have to target people who will be voting by mail, who can vote several weeks before Election Day … and you also have to target the individuals who still go to vote on Election Day. It’s going to increase the cost of campaigns.”
Lynch also said he wants to get more younger people involved in the party.
“That’s something that the Republican Party in general has to focus on, not just in Lebanon County,” he said. “I’m always interested in identifying individuals who are interested in running for local offices. We have to cultivate some new faces who are the next generation of leaders.”
As for Dougherty, Lynch said his opponent in the campaign for chairman “ran a professional campaign.”
“Bill has some very good ideas for the party,” he said. “He’s a member of the executive committee, so I will be working with him.”
In fact, he said, Dougherty has expressed interest in leading outreach efforts to young Lebanon County Republicans, “and if Bill is willing to run with that for me, I would happily accept his help.”
Dougherty, also contacted Friday morning, told LebTown he is “not disappointed by the loss.”
“Ed Lynch will do a fantastic job as chair,” he said. “Over the course of the last two weeks, we’ve built a fantastic relationship. I’m confident the party is going in the right direction.”
The two men have similar goals, Dougherty said, and “I have great respect for him. The party is strong, every seat is filled, and the competition made us a stronger party.”
“I fully support him and his agenda,” he added. “We’re both on the same page. … I’m looking forward to working with him. We’re all united.”
Also at Thursday’s reorganization, the committee elected Karen Ludwig as vice-chair, Dawn Blauch as secretary, and Donnette Quairoli as treasurer.
They, with Lynch, released the following written statement:
“We are extremely honored and humbled to have received the vote and support of the Lebanon County Republican Committee Members to serve as Officers of the Lebanon GOP. Our immediate goals for the future of the Lebanon County Republican Party are to ensure the re-election of President Donald Trump, restore unity within the rank and file members of the GOP and identify, recruit and assist individuals in seeking and winning locally elected offices.”
All committee positions are unpaid, and officers are elected to two-year terms.
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Full Disclosure: The campaign of Dawn Blauch was an advertiser on LebTown during a previous election cycle. The campaign of Frank Ryan, which Bill Dougherty manages, is a current advertiser on LebTown. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on advertising relationships and advertisers do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about advertising with LebTown here.
This article was updated to clarify that officer positions are elected to two-year terms. Committee members in general are elected to four-year terms.