Our Party’s Origins

David WilmotPennsylvanian David Wilmot was one of the many co-founders of the Republican Party, which sprang up in 1854-56 in the northern states in reaction to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. Wilmot wrote the Wilmot Proviso and the GOP’s first national platform at the 1856 Republican National Convention. He was the temporary chairman of the 1860 Republican National Convention, appointed by the RNC chairman to open the convention and give the keynote address, conduct the election for the general chairman, who would then chair the rest of the convention (Information provided by Michael Zak, recognized Republican Historian).

Pennsylvania’s Republican Party was founded on November 27, 1854, in the home of David Wilmot in Towanda, Pennsylvania. Wilmot gathered his friends – former Governor Simon Cameron, Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, Colonel Alexander McClure and former Governor Samuel Curtin – to form local Republican Clubs in their home counties. The Pennsylvania Republican Party takes great pride in the fact that the first national convention was held in Pittsburgh on February 22, 1856. Later, Party delegates held their first nominating convention at Philadelphia’s Musical Fund Hall on June 17, 1856. Two years later, on September 5, 1858, Pennsylvania’s Republican Clubs met in Pittsburgh to form the state Republican Party. Of the 65 counties in the Commonwealth at that time, 64 were represented at the Pittsburgh Convention. In October of 1858, the Republican Party elected their first statewide official, John M. Reid, to the Supreme Court. In 1860, the Republican Party elected Samuel Curtin to the Governor’s office and gained control of the state Senate – which they did not relinquish for 30 years. In 1959, George I. Bloom turned the Republican State Committee into a statewide organization with a new permanent headquarters in Harrisburg.

Our Party Today

The Republican State Committee is currently located at 717 N. Second St. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17102, Phone: (717) 234-4901, e-mail: info@pagop.org and map. Our party has kept pace with an ever-changing world to include a homepage on the World Wide Web at www.pagop.org and a rapidly growing grassroots e-mail network. The Republican State Committee is one of the strongest and fastest growing political organizations in the country allowing many pundits to state that Pennsylvania has become one of the most Republican states in the nation. Today, there are party organizations in all 67 counties as well as elected Republican officials at all levels of government.

Our Party’s Structure

Registered Republicans elect State Committee Members by county or by district in the primary election every even year to a two-year term. State Committee Members and County Chairmen serve on the State Committee and elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman to a two-year term. State Committee Members also elect a National Committeeman and national Committeewoman to represent Pennsylvania on the Republican National Committee to elect a National Chairman.

Our Party’s Mission

The Republican State Committee is a representative body that deals with the positions and candidates of the Republican Party. The Committee is responsible for the general supervision, regulation, and direction of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania. The Republican State Committee’s main purpose is to help elect qualified Republican candidates to all levels of federal, state and local office, as well as articulate the Republican message to the general public.