Amid party infighting, city GOP to elect ward leaders

    Fireworks may break out in some Republican wards where two different factions are battling for control.

    Elected party officials from both the Democratic and Republican Parties gather tonight in Philadelphia to elect Ward leaders. But fireworks may break out in some Republican wards where two different factions are battling for control.

    A group of insurgent Republican Party activists in the city say the entrenched leadership is not doing enough to increase its ranks. They recruited new committee people to run in the recent primary.

    But the Republican leadership changed the rules, requiring candidates to get 10 write-in votes – instead of just one — for election.

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    Now, more than 100 write-in candidates claim they’ve been illegally blocked from serving.

    Matthew Wolfe is the leader of the 27th Ward in West Philadelphia and has been challenging the party leadership.

    “They are violating the state election code by not inviting them to the ward re-organization meetings,” says Wolfe. “We’re going to encourage them to attend those meetings. We’re going to encourage them to challenge the results of those meetings.”

    Wolfe says he’s encouraging the write-in candidates who did not meet the Party’s new election standards to show up to the meetings anyway.

    The Republican City Committee says they won’t be let in the door.

    Michael Meehan is legal counsel to the City Committee.

    “But their purpose is simply to try to disrupt and knock out ward leaders who have been working for years for Republican candidates,” says Meehan.

    Meehan says the change in by-laws does not violate state law.

    The reformers say they plan to challenge the validity of the ward leader elections, as well as the elections for the party’s top leaders scheduled for Wednesday.

    Republicans make up less than 15 percent of registered voters in the city.

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