McArdle and Santorin Challenge for Republican Party Leadership W.Va. | News, Sports, Jobs


CHARLESTON — Two Ohio County members of West Virginia’s Republican executive committee have thrown their hats into the ring to be its next president in the election next month even as they battle it out in court.

Ohio County Republican Executive Committee Chairwoman Elgine McArdle announced Monday morning that she and Putnam County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Tony Hodge are running as co-chairs of the West Virginia Republican Executive Committee. .

Dolph Santorini, a WVREC member representing the 1st Senate District, has announced his intention to run for state party president. Lizabeth Gregg-Badt, chair of the Hancock County Republican Executive Committee, is running with Santorini as co-chair.

Newly elected WVREC members will meet in Charleston on July 30 to elect the new leadership of the State Party for the next four years. President Mark Harris, elected in March 2021 for the remainder of former President Melody Potter’s term, will decline to seek a full four-year term.

Santorine and McArdle are locked in a legal battle after McArdle refused to sit on Santorine after winning the Ohio County REC election in May. Santorini applied for election to the County Party Committee for the 2nd Magisterial District. Due to a county error, Santorini was placed in the 1st district.

Ohio county officials admitted their mistake and certified the 2nd district election for Santorini, but the county party determined they couldn’t get him elected for that district and encouraged him to submit his name for an appointment for an available seat for the 1st district. Santorine refused and filed a lawsuit in Ohio County Circuit Court, asking the court to order the county party committee to sit on it.

Santorine is a Wheeling-based businessman, political organizer, and former candidate for the House of Delegates. In a statement on Monday, Santorini said he wanted to improve relations between the county parties and the state party.

“We’ve put together a team with the drive and drive to set consistent direction and goals, and take the party to the next level,” said Santorini. “The way the State Party interacts with county committees needs to change. While the original goal of getting Republicans elected remains front and center, a much more sophisticated approach is needed now and in the future.

“Dolph is uniquely qualified to lead the party,” said Gregg-Baldt. “Successfully leading the State Party requires a broader set of skills, and Dolph has those from his business career. It’s about building the foundation, and we know that’s the foundation upon which all successful Republicans have been built in West Virginia. We also bring consistency and will each complete the full term of elected office.

McArdle and Hodge are billing themselves as a ticket for unity and restoration, uniting the northern and southern regions of West Virginia and working to restore the confidence of party loyalists in the state party ahead of the mid-elections. – November mandate and the 2024 elections.

“Our campaign for the leadership of the Republican Party of West Virginia is about restoration,” McArdle said in a statement. “We aim to restore trust, competence and respect for the state party.”

“Our respective residences in the northern and southern portions of West Virginia create a single, balanced ticket that provides leadership accessibility across the state,” Hodge said. “We look forward to earning the confidence of the State Executive Committee as we pursue our plans to elevate the WVGOP to the next level.”

McArdle, a Wheeling-based attorney, has served on WVREC since 2005 and is a past chair of the REC’s rules and regulations committee. She was also a delegate to the Republican National Convention, both as a 2008 delegate and an alternate delegate in 2020. If elected co-chair next month, McArdle would be the second woman to lead WVREC after Potter and the first American of Asian descent. chair.

“With so many issues facing our state and country, Republicans in West Virginia deserve stateparty leadership that will work diligently to recruit candidates, work with our elected Republican leadership, maintain our gains, and build the ‘political infrastructure so desperately needed to not only make West Virginia a true Republican-majority state, but to become a true ruling party for West Virginia,’ McArdle said.

Hodge, a Hurricane-based political organizer and private pilot, is the current chairman of the state party rules and regulations committee. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2020 and is a past president of the Putnam County Republican Club.

“I am delighted to join this post with my friend Elgine,” Hodge said. “West Virginia deserves a strong and professional Republican Party. Elgine and I will work diligently to create a cohesive Republican Party that works closely with our elected officials and grassroots leaders to develop policies, pass laws, and ensure that we recruit Republican candidates who align with the values of the Republican Party.

Harris announced last week that he would not seek re-election as chairman after state party executive director John Findlay and unnamed members of the state party leadership called on Harris to step down over charges. unidentified instances of alleged inappropriate behavior. Harris denied all allegations of wrongdoing and said he would not step down until next month’s WVREC meeting.

Harris was elected president last year, defeating former state party chairman Conrad Lucas at a March 2021 party meeting at the Greenbrier Resort after two close votes due to confusion surrounding the first vote. McArdle abstained from both votes at that meeting.

Santorini said it was time for some stability in the state’s Republican Party leadership after the past few years. He believes the internal party drama spilling out into the public is a turnoff for potential candidates.

“There has been unnecessary turnover in recent years with the party leadership,” said Santorini. “Since becoming the majority party in 2014 and then a supermajority in 2020, the West Virginia Republican Party must change to attract, retain and help elect quality candidates. This type of candidate will not tolerate drama in our own ranks. Our team understands this and can set the party up for short and long term success.



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