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Judge Rules Against the Chester County GOP in Election Lawsuit

Late Monday afternoon Common Pleas Judge Anthony Verwey ruled against the Chester County Republican Committee, which had asked for an injunction to prevent ballots harvested from a nursing home to be counted in Tuesday’s primary.

The judge also denied the party’s request to reverse a county Board of Elections ruling that GOP committee members cannot act as poll watchers in their own precincts. The Republicans also objected to the reapportionment of wards in Phoenixville. They are concerned that the Board of Elections gave them insufficient notice of these ward changes in the borough for committee members to gather signatures.

They further argued that the long-term care facility was not a single household, as election law requires, so one person could not legally gather ballots from many residents there.

“The injunction proposed in this matter would disenfranchise and, therefore, harm voters who are unable to submit their ballots on their own and have already provided their mail-in ballot to a single designated agent,” the judge wrote.

Chester County GOP Chair Dr. Raffi Terzian said, “We are disappointed, and quite frankly surprised, with the outcome of the ruling today. During this election cycle, with all eyes on Pennsylvania, it should be of paramount interest to all voters that there be fairness in the electoral process, and this is precisely what we asked for today.

“Our goals are to promote transparency and accountability, to help restore confidence in the integrity of the election process and to make sure that citizens are provided with appropriate notice of actions taken by county government. Unfortunately, it appears that there remains a double standard which is tilted against Republicans,” Terzian said.

Rebecca Brain, a spokeswoman for Chester County, said, “Chester County and its leadership and staff in Voter Services are dedicated to running safe and secure elections, and the County remains committed to open communication and transparency, not just with voters, but with representatives of all parties.”

When DVJournal asked her why it was okay for Commissioner Marian Moskowitz to serve on the Board of Elections while she was a candidate, Brain said, “Marian Moskowitz is running for a party position, and the Election Code does not prohibit a member of a Board of Elections from running for a party position.”

Moskowitz is running to be a delegate to the National Democratic Convention.

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Chester GOP Candidates Help Clean Up for Earth Day

Candidates and Republican Committee of Chester County members participated in various Earth Day activities throughout the area on Saturday, April 22.

“Each one of us has a responsibility to do our part to keep Chester County pristine and beautiful for the next generation,” said David Sommers, Republican candidate for Chester County commissioner.

Members cleaned roadways, parks, and waterways, removing truckloads of litter and garbage. The Republican Party has a history of supporting the environment dating back to President Theodore Roosevelt, said Sommers.

He quoted Roosevelt: “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”

Michael Taylor, the GOP candidate for prothonotary said, “We are all stewards of bucolic Chester County and on Earth Day I was pleased to be able to lend a hand in cleaning up the Brandywine Creek. It is amazing what can be found polluting our waterways. I pulled from a small island a child’s scooter. I also cleaned up a bunch of strewn beer cans and bottles that were literally there for over 40 years. The cans had pull tabs, which haven’t been used in decades, and the bottles were ornamental which reminded me of sitting with my grandfather when I was young. It is important for everyone to do their part and keep our waterways clean.”

The first Earth Day in April of 1970 was celebrated by some 30,000 people on Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. It featured a reading by poet Allen Ginsberg, a speech by activist Ralph Nader, and music by the cast of the Broadway musical “Hair.”


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Chester County Democrats and Republicans Endorse Candidates for May Primary

This year local races for positions like county commissioners, judges, and school board members are in contention, along with statewide judgeships, including a state Supreme Court justice. With the primary fast approaching on May 16, the county political parties are vetting candidates and making endorsements.

Both the Chester County Democrats and Republicans endorsed candidates on Feb. 15.

With Democratic County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz and Josh Maxwell running for re-election, they garnered their party’s endorsement for spots on the three-seat board.  On the Republican side, Commissioner Michelle Kichline is not running again, so Dave Sommers, a teacher, and former state Rep. Eric Roe received the GOP nod.

“I’m honored to have the support and confidence of the Republican Party, and I’ll run a campaign that our Republican voters can be proud of,” said Roe. “I am running on my track record of open space preservation, fiscal restraint, and empowering those in the shadows. That’s what I did as a state legislator, and that’s what I’ll do in the county courthouse.”

Sommers said, “I am humbled to receive the committee’s endorsement to be one of your next county commissioners. The faith committee members have placed in me and our entire slate of candidates representing conservative, common-sense approaches to governing is greatly appreciated. ”

Maxwell said, “I’m excited to be running for reelection in a community I’ve called home my entire life. This is a special county, and I look forward to talking to neighbors throughout the year to try and earn their support.”

And Chairwoman Moscowitz added, “I’m running for re-election because I love this community, and I’m dedicated to building on the progress we’ve made in our first term. As the first Democratic majority in the history of our county, we’ve shown that Democrats can govern and deliver.

“We now have the lowest unemployment rate in the region, we’re restoring access to public transportation, we have begun increasing affordable/attainable housing, and we’ve made historic investments to preserve our open space. There is so much more work to be done, and I’m ready to continue serving the place I’ve called home for nearly 40 years,” she said.

Chester County Democratic Committee Chair Charlotte Valyo stressed the importance of the endorsement process, especially given that she expects cross-filing Republicans on the May 16 Democratic Primary Election ballot for non-political races. She also noted the recent election successes of Democratic candidates across the county, leading to several competitive primary races.

For statewide races, the Democratic committee endorsed Dan McCaffrey for state Supreme Court; Jill Beck and Judge Tamika Lane for Superior Court; and Judge Matt Wolf for Commonwealth Court.

Republican Chair Raffi Terzian said the Pennsylvania GOP endorsed the statewide judicial candidates, so the county committee does not vote on them. These are Judge Carolyn Carluccio for the State Supreme Court, Judge Harry Smail and Maria Battista for Superior Court, and Megan Martin for Commonwealth Court.

For Chester County Common Pleas judgeships, Republicans selected: David Black, Donald Kohler, Judge Lou Mincarelli, PJ Redmond, and Andy Rongaus.  The Republicans also endorsed candidates for District Court Magistrate: District Court 15-3-01 Judge John Hipple; District Court 15-3-04 Peter Mylonas; District Court 15-3-05 Judge Scott Massey; District Court 15-3-06 Timothy Arndt; and District Court 15-4-03, Joe Denham.

For Common Pleas judge, the Democrats are backing: Sarah Black, Judge Nicole Forzato, Sheriff Fredda Maddox, Tip McCabe, and Deborah Ryan, the current district attorney.

Voters will also decide who holds the county row offices.

The CCDC endorsed: Prothonotary Debbie Bookman and Register of Wills Michelle Vaughn, along with district attorney candidate Chris de Barrena-Sarobe, recorder of deeds candidate Diane O’Dwyer, and Kevin Dykes for sheriff.

“The Chester County Democratic Committee has successfully endorsed a full slate of candidates to run for Judicial and County seats in the 2023 election,” said Valyo. “The Democratic slate is representative of Chester County, the candidates are highly qualified, and will continue the Democrats’ record of governing responsibly for all Chester County residents.”

The GOP endorsed: Roy Kofroth for sheriff, Michael Taylor for prothonotary, Brian Yanoviak for recorder of deeds, and Shawn Mullen for register of wills.

The RCCC is continuing “to vet candidates for district attorney,” Terzian said.

At the beginning of the meeting, Terzian called for unity.

“We must come together and unite as one Republican Party in Chester County. Unity does not require complete concordance. Instead, it requires recognizing and embracing the goodwill of everyone.”

He noted that the upcoming election would be important for the quality of life in Chester County.

“The New Republican Party of Chester County is moving forward with renewed energy, fresh ideas, and an optimistic vision for the future. We aim for highly-qualified candidates who offer a solutions-oriented and common-sense approach to the challenges we face in our county,” he said.

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Raffi Terzian Elected Chair of The Chester County Republican Committee

Dr. Raffi Terzian is the new chairman of the Chester County Republican Committee.

Terzian, who takes over from Dr. Gordon Eck, received 85 percent of the committee members’ votes Tuesday evening, said Felice Fein, the former vice chair.

“It’s time for new leadership,” Terzian told the Delaware Valley Journal previously. The committee members agreed.

“I’m excited,” said Terzian on Thursday. “One of my goals is to unify the party and to move the party forward in Chester County. I’m grateful to the committee for putting their faith in me and my team. And I’m looking forward to serving.”

Terzian ran on a platform of vitalizing the party by having decentralized leadership, improved fundraising, communications and outreach to members and independent voters.

The Chester County GOP faces about a 5,000 voter registration deficit. And the county board of commissioners and district attorney’s office flipped to Democrats in 2019.

Asked to comment, Charlotte Valyo, chair of the Chester County Democrats said, “The Chester County Democratic Committee is 100 percent focused on electing Democrats in November and advancing the values of our party.”

Trained as an ER doctor, Terzian is married to Roseanne Terzian, and the father of four children. The family has called Chester County home for 19 years. Terzian,  a first-generation son of Armenian immigrants, holds a master’s degree in public health and also has experience in occupational health.

“I currently serve in an administrative capacity as an executive of a health care advocacy company where I lead a team of nurses and doctors who provide healthcare system navigation support,” he said.

Terzian also serves on the Tredyffrin Parks and Recreation Board, and is a board member of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, as well as the Chester County Board of Health.

The family belongs to St. Katharine of Siena Church in Wayne and Terzian is a member of the Knights of Columbus.

A slate of officers also ran with Terzian and have been elected as well. They are: Executive Vice Chair John Emmons; Vice Chair Paula Tropiano; Treasurer Noan MacQueen; Financial Secretary Barbara Spall; Secretary Ann Marie Franciscus; and Assistant Secretary Trish Milanese.

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Chester County Republicans Donate 100 New Toys to Coatesville VA

In this season of giving, the Republican Committee of Chester County members presented donations of about 100 new toys, books, and arts and crafts items for the children and grandchildren of hospitalized veterans at Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

VA Chief of Voluntary Services Jennifer Lilly provided a list of age groups to committee organizers David Sommers and John DeSantis. She explained the veterans are unable to get out to shop, so the hospital provides them with a “store” where they can choose gifts to give for Christmas. Both committee and community members came together to help those who sacrificed so much.

“When we heard about the Christmas needs at the VA Hospital, I knew this was something our committee would enthusiastically support. Some members donated personally, while others collected items at polling places. It is my intention for this toy drive to be an annual event by the Republican Committee of Chester County,” said committee Vice-Chair Felice Fein.

The Coatesville VA Medical Center provides healthcare for America’s veterans.

David Sommers, who organized the donation event said, “Our toy drive to remember veterans in Chester County at this time of year was the first official endeavor for the recently formed Charis Community Outreach program.  Helping veterans better connect with their families provided us with a unique and worthy opportunity.”

The Coatesville VA Medical Center will receive an annual donation from this committee but needs assistance year-round. Please consider a donation to this worthy organization.

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