2 new county GOP leaders emphasize importance of local politics

Rick Loughery
Photo credit Courtesy of Rick Loughery
BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — It may not have the cachet of a presidential or congressional election year, but two new party leaders in suburban Philadelphia counties are hoping they can stem the “blue wave” in 2019’s local elections to keep counties under Republican control.  

Tom McGarrigle is the new chair of the Delaware County Republican Committee. After losing his state Senate seat in November, McGarrigle says he saw firsthand the voter mentality of “a vote for a Democrat is a vote against Trump." 

"You know this isn’t Washington, this isn't 'the wall,' this is basic services that are provided to residents of Delaware County," he said. 

He says he feels the party needs to do a better job spreading the message of Republican leadership, maintaining — what he calls — quality county services while keeping taxes low.

“We’ve done a lot of good things, so we just really need to spend more time getting our message across and out to the voters. And that’s what I plan to do, re-engaging the committee people with their local committees,”  McGarrigle added. 

The same goes in Chester County, where 34-year-old Rick Loughery takes over the county GOP committee. He says he hopes to engage younger voters through social media to show what he calls the success of Republican leadership. 

“Didn’t happen by accident, didn’t happen overnight, it’s been Republican leadership that has created Chester County as the best place to live, work, raise a family and retire,” Loughery said. 

The Philadelphia collar counties have seen party registration numbers flip over the past couple decades, but Republicans still control the county boards and courthouses in Bucks, Chester, and Delaware counties. In Chester County, Republicans outnumber Democrats by about 153,000 to about 142,000, a far cry from 20 years ago when it was a nearly two-to-one margin. 

Two years ago, a pair of Democrats won seats on the five-member Delaware County Council, the first time Democrats had any representation on that board in more than 40 years. Three seats are up this year, and if Republicans want to hold the majority, McGarrigle says they need to do a better job getting their message out to voters. 

“We’ve haven’t had a tax increase in three or four years. We have one of the biggest county-run nursing homes, we provide great services without the taxing residents out of their homes,” McGarrigle said.