John K. Manna
New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
By one vote, Gale Measel was elected chairman of the Lawrence County Republican Party last night.
Measel defeated William Schafer, party chairman the last four years, by a 55-54 roll call vote.
A total of 110 committee members were eligible to vote, but one person with a proxy vote left prior to the vote for chairman.
Other officers elected at the reorganization meeting were David Cochenour as vice chairman, Leslie Bucci as treasurer, Jerry Hermann as secretary and Helen Jackson as assistant secretary.
They had no opposition, although Nathan Schafer was nominated for secretary, but declined the nomination.
In his nomination speech prior to the vote, Measel, a former Neshannock Township supervisor, said, “I will follow the rule of law, not the rule of men.”
He said to the committee members, “I’ll fight for you. I’ll make sure you have a voice.”
In his nomination remarks, Schafer noted how the Republicans have narrowed the Democratic registration advantage in the county by 2,327 voters over the last four years.
He also noted that Republican candidates for statewide office, congressional and state legislative seats have been able to win in the county. Plus, Republicans won the majority on the board of commissioners last year, he said.
“We have not had the kind of success in 25 years.”
After he was elected, Measel said, “The greatest challenge before us is to heal and build a consensus.
“I am extremely proud and honored to lead us forward and make a difference.”
He said after the meeting that the chairman “should be the facilitator for all the committee people. We will build a strong team to unite this party.”
The reorganization meeting had been scheduled for June, but was placed on hold by a court injunction. A Lawrence County judge issued the injunction after seven people filed a complaint against the party and Schafer, challenging their removal from the county committee.
The matter was finally resolved in August when attorneys for the seven and the county committee reached an agreement, which became a court order.
Under the agreement, the seven were reinstated with full rights as committee members, including being able to vote at last night’s reorganization meeting.
William Darr, former southwest caucus chairman of the Republican State Committee, chaired the meeting. He was selected as part of the court order.