GOP logo(l), Beaver Country Courthouse

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Why the far-right is feuding with mainstream Republicans over a tiny county in Southwest Pennsylvania

Some conservatives called for McDaniel to resign.

 

Katherine Huggins

Tech

Posted on Dec 19, 2023

The GOP is excited that a county outside of Pittsburgh—with a population of fewer than 200,000 people—now has more registered Republicans than Democrats.

But a post celebrating that achievement has irked many conservatives critical of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

“Together with [Pennsylvania GOP] our data-driven ground game has been in Pennsylvania registering voters since 2016 and has never left! On to November!” the RNC’s GOP account on X posted Monday.

Earlier in the day, though, the news was flagged by conservative activist Scott Presler, who has been working to register Republicans across southwest Pennsylvania.

“There are now 91 more registered Republicans than democrats. This is a big deal.”

Although the county has had more registered Democrats until now, it has become a relatively solid Republican county for federal elections.

It hasn’t swung blue in a presidential election since 2004, though it has since occasionally favored Democratic candidates at the state-level—including picking Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) over Republican nominee Doug Mastriano in the 2022 gubernatorial election. Prior to that election, the county had voted against Shapiro as the state attorney general in both 2016 and 2020.

The increase in GOP voter registrations in Beaver County marks a major win for Republicans,

Pennsylvania played a decisive role in the 2020 presidential election, with President Joe Biden winning the state by a margin of just over 1%. The results were heavily challenged by former President Donald Trump’s team, who falsely alleged widespread voter fraud.

Owing in part to Democrats holding the office of the governor and the majority on the state Supreme Court, lawsuits challenging the results were unsuccessful.

Now, ahead of 2024, Pennsylvania again is expected to play a key role in determining the outcome of the presidential election.

Presler previously named southwest Pennsylvania and Beaver County as areas that will be “key” to success for Republicans.

According to voter registration statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of State, there are about 438,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans across the state. However, most of the registered Democrats are concentrated in the state’s five most populous counties.

With Beaver County now having more registered Republicans, just over 20% of the counties in the state are majority Democrat. And Presler is hopeful that more areas, such as Bucks County—which has 2% more registered Democrats than Republicans, will soon follow suit.

“We’re getting closer to flipping Bucks County,” Presler wrote on Monday.

But the achievement was overshadowed on social media by infighting within the GOP, as some put RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel on blast for celebrating the change, an effort Presler had long been posting about.

“Ronna McRomney is now stealing credit for [Presler’s] voter registration efforts in Beaver County, PA,” wrote DC_Draino, a popular right-wing influencer. “This woman is shameless.”

Presler replied, highlighting his efforts to register young, conservative voter and how the RNC didn’t help.

“I’ve been reaching out to the Chairwoman for 247 days — no response,” he added.

One supporter of Presler’s efforts wrote that: “She’s a disgrace and should step down! Scott should be the new RNC Chair!”

Another user similarly criticized that the GOP “did nothing to flip Beaver County” and “are taking credit for [Presler’s] hard work.”

One asked how the GOP appearing to take credit for the county flipping is “different than plagiarism” and called on McDaniel to step down.

“Before you do, do like my mamma always told me, ‘Give credit where credit is due!’ The MAGA is getting the job done, not Ronna!” she added.

McDaniel has faced increased scrutiny among some Republicans, who have criticized her handling of debates, election priorities, and donor money. A handful of election losses in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade have only augmented the existing concerns.

She told CNN at the time that candidates are responsible for the messaging of their campaign and expressed disappointment about the losses, adding: “The RNC builds the road, all the candidates drive on it. You need a good candidate and a good road to get to your destination.”

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy called on McDaniel to resign during the third presidential primary debate, arguing in favor of “accountability” in the party.

McDaniel brushed off Ramaswamy’s remark, saying he’s polling at 4% and “needs a headline.”

But former President Donald Trump is souring on McDaniel as well, according to an NBC News report published in November. Later last month, he called for a “revamp” of the RNC if it didn’t cancel the remaining primary debates, none of which he has participated in.

“RNC must save money on lowest ever ratings debates,” Trump said. “Use it against the Democrats to STOP THE STEAL! If not, REVAMP THE RNC, NOW!!!”

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*First Published: Dec 19, 2023, 3:25 pm CST