SPRINGFIELD — Delaware County Republican Party leaders selected Thornbury Supervisors Chairman Jim Raith, non-profit board member Mike Morgan of Newtown and activist Kelly Colvin of Drexel Hill as its endorsed county council candidates for 2019 Monday.
County GOP Chairman Tom McGarrigle explained to the crowd gathered in the ballroom of the Springfield Country Club that a weighted vote system would be used to select from five candidates vying for three open spots on council.
The other two candidates were Chester Heights Councilwoman Theresa Agostinelli and Upland Mayor William Dennon. Marple Newtown School Board President Kathy Chandless removed herself from consideration at the start of the meeting.
In order to receive endorsement, each candidate was required to receive 92 votes. McGarrgle explained how voting would continue if no selection had been made in the first round, but it proved unnecessary. The three clear winners after the first tally were Colvin with 149 votes, Morgan with 156 and Raith with 163.
Each of the candidates thanked the leaders assembled Monday for their support and pledged to work with them in the coming months.
“We are a party that works hard and believes in hard work,” said Colvin, an associate director at the public policy center at Temple University and former regional representative for the U.S. Department of Education. “We are diverse and we are inclusive. We build consensus. We make government accountable and transparent … I very much look forward to working with Jim, Mike and all of you to accomplish our goal, and that is to start strong, finish strong and win in November.”
“I very much appreciate your support as municipal leaders who listened to me, and I look forward to working with you to get out in the community in all 49 municipalities and meeting people, and listening to them, and helping learn and make things better to live work, play and raise a family in Delaware County,” said Morgan, a former consultant for Andersen Consulting/Accenture and board member of the Foundation of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, the Community YMCA of Eastern Delaware County and the Adoption Center.
“We need everything you have to get through May, and then May to November,” said Raith, the owner and operator of a 31-year-old mechanical contracting company with more than 75 employees. “Once again, I thank everybody in this room for your support, but it’s not over yet, it’s beginning. So we’re going to need everybody, all hands on deck, like we’ve talked about the whole time, and we’re looking forward to working together with you.”
Monday’s meeting concluded the GOP endorsement process for its 2019 countywide candidates. Four candidates were chosen for four open seats on the Delaware County Common Pleas Court last week. They are Steve Gerber, a resident of Radnor and a member of the law firm Cozen O’Connor; Magisterial District Judge Wendy Roberts of Bethel; Elizabeth Naughton Beck, an attorney at the law firm Swartz Campbell and a resident of Nether Providence; and Delaware County Deputy District Attorney George Dawson of Ridley Township.
District Attorney Katayoun Copeland, appointed to fulfill the unexpired term of Jack Whelan when he became a Common Pleas judge in January 2018, also received the unchallenged and unanimous endorsement to run for a full four-year term last week.
Current Republican county council members John McBlain and Colleen Morrone are unable to run again due to term limits. County council members can only serve two consecutive four-year terms and both McBlain and Morrone have served on council since January 2012. Incumbent Republican Mike Culp is not seeking re-election.
Last year saw the introduction of two Democrats on county council for the first time since the 1970s with the elections of Kevin M. Madden and Brian P. Zidek. About a dozen other Democrats have expressed interest in running for the remaining three seats on county council and six Democrats want their party's endorsement for the four open judicial spots. The Delaware County Democratic Committee will hold its nominating convention Sunday at Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack.
McGarrigle acknowledged the importance of this election for the county GOP in his closing remarks, as well as what is likely to be an uphill battle in a once solidly Republican county that now trends Democrat, according to voter registration numbers.
“Tonight is just the beginning of a long road, a hard road, but we’re going to do it,” said McGarrigle. “2019 is where we determine whether we control and lead Delaware County or we don’t. So we’re going to need everyone in this room working extra hard. We’re going to need every neighbor, friend, relative out there banging the doors to get our vote out. This year, we cannot leave one vote at home.”