ELEPHANT CORNER: N.E. Republican Conference Was A Catwalk For Leaders

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Last Thursday through Saturday, Northeastern Republicans congregated in Philadelphia to attend to the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference at the Sheraton. Republican Party of Pennsylvania hosted the conference. Attendees were treated to speeches from a number of presidential candidates (or potential ones), including New Jersey GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, Wisconsin GOV. SCOTT WALKER, corporate executive CARLY FIORINA, former New York GOV. GEORGE PATAKI and former SEN. RICK SANTORUM. SEN. LINDSAY GRAHAM was to speak, but returned to South Carolina to support the families of those killed in the church in Charleston.

FORMER NEW Hampshire State Rep. Marilinda Garcia and Penna.170th Dist. State Rep. Martina White discuss GOP’s Millennial leaders.

FORMER NEW Hampshire State Rep. Marilinda Garcia and Penna.170th Dist. State Rep. Martina White discuss GOP’s Millennial leaders.


The conference started midday on Thursday with comments from Gov. Pataki. The first panel discussion was on terrorism and was lead by former US Congressman from Erie (also a University of Pennsylvania graduate) PHIL ENGLISH. Later that afternoon, PAGOP Deputy Chair RENEE AMOORE emceed a panel discussion on “How the GOP is the Grand Opportunity Party”. Coatesville-area STATE REP. HARRY LEWIS, JR. was also on that panel. Lewis is the only Republican African American in the Pennsylvania legislature. Thursday’s opening-reception headliner was CONGRESSMAN STEVE KING of Iowa.


Friday morning started with breakfast with Santorum. The schedule that morning included Republican National Committee CHAIRMAN REINCE PRIEBUS and Co-Chair Sharon Day. The luncheon speaker was Gov. Christie. Christie spent some time on politics, but more on his family background. He attributed his bluntness in part to his mother, who thought it was important to be upfront.


Fiorina followed. She talked of her extensive business experience. She is one of the most-successful women in corporate America. I have heard mainstream-media reports criticize her for getting fired as the CEO of Hewlett Packard. In her own words, she lost in a “boardroom brawl”; and I believe none of those critical reporters have the skills and experience to have been in that room with her. Prior to her speech at the conference, Philadelphia’s FARAH JIMÉNEZ and Harrisburg communications expert CHARLIE GEROW hosted a very-successful fundraiser for Fiorina at the Union League.


The keynote speaker at the reception on Friday was SEN. JONI ERNST. She is the only female in the Iowa congressional delegation. Ernst was introduced by Pennsylvania RNC member CHRISTINE TORETTI. The reception was sponsored by GOPAC. GOPAC’s goal is to “promote the ideas and policies being implemented at the state level, as well as assist with electing a new generation of Republican leaders.” GOPAC was the first major PAC to support Ernst when she ran last year for the Senate seat vacated by retiring Democrat TOM HARKIN.


Saturday morning started with a breakfast with political sage KARL ROVE. I cannot report on his comments as they were off the record. I realize some liberal conspiracy theorists might see this questionable. However, Rove does make a living by sharing his words of wisdom, either at paid engagements on television and by selling books and articles. Thus, I understand why the press was excluded. I can state Rove was introduced by Montgomery County businessman and Pennsylvania RNC representative BOB ASHER.


Gov. Walker gave the final speech of the conference. He discussed his success in Wisconsin. Chief Executive magazine’s ranking of the best state for business moved Wisconsin from 41st when he first took office to 14th in 2014. He won two gubernatorial elections and a recall race in a blue state. He spoke of the need for constructive government regulations and the need to help people not to become members of a permanent underclass by dependency on the government. He believes in rational taxes. His best line of speech was that we in the US “celebrate Jul. 4, not Apr. 15.”


The PAGOP conducted a straw poll for President. The clear winner was Walker with 25% of the vote, followed by Christie (12%), SEN. MARCO RUBIO (11%), Santorum (10%) and former GOV. JEB BUSH (10%).

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