How the Republican Party chooses a candidate to support in Philadelphia

Michael Meehan is a powerful guy in the city’s Republican Party – for whatever that means. But it occurred to me that that isn’t always explained why.

One doesn’t need Meehan’s permission to run, of course. But this state’s elections, like those in much of the country, expect it. The blessing of the Republican committee comes with the promise of making the ballot and much less competition than in the Democratic Party. In the small pond of the Republican Party, Meehan holds influence to divvy available jobs, which keeps some Philadelphians registered with the party. Thus, in deciding that the party will support a particular candidate, ward leaders and committeemen rarely deviate from Meehan’s choices.

One can briefly encapsulate the selection process thusly: the Republican Party selection committee – which Michael Meehan leads – chooses a candidate and the party’s 67 ward leaders ratify that decision. Meehan’s control over the committee and effective sway over most ward leaders makes him as powerful as an unelected Republican can be in this city.

Photo courtesy of History Cooperative.org.

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