The Columbia County Republican Committee is composed primarily of two people from each Columbia County voting district, elected every four years. Only the Committee Members have a vote in Republican Party matters and are entrusted with the "operational control" of the Party in Columbia County.
The Columbia County Republican Committee is composed of up to 85 County Republicans who serve as Committeemen and Committeewomen. Eighty-two are elected; two-each, from the 41 County voting disricts. Two additional members (one male, one female) are elected in the County Primary Election to serve on the Pennsylvania State Republican Committee. The County Committee Chairperson also serves on the State Committee.
But it wasn't always this way.
As recently as 2008, the County Republican Party was controlled by elected Public Officials and others. Bylaws vested the "operational control" of the Party in an "Executive Committee" which consisted of all the "elected officials" county level and above, individuals holding specified Party positions, and others appointed by the Chairman.
In 2009, the County Committee voted to change the bylaws and placed the "operational control" of the Party rightfully within the County Committee and Chairman. The "Executive Committee" (as defined above), was relegated to an advisory capacity.
Also in 2009, a policy was instituted which revised the manner in which candidate endorsements were handled. Prior to this policy, the Executive Committee only (not the County Committee) endorsed candidates. There was no specific procedure for endorsing candidates. There was nothing preventing endorsements from taking place prior to the filing of petitions.
The new policy has the entire County Committee, not the Executive Committee, address the endorsement issue. No action can be taken on endorsements until after petitions are filed. This encourages the widest possible participation among perspective candidates.
A "Nominating Committee" consisting of Committee Members is appointed by the Chairman. It generates questions, contacts candidates, and interviews candidates using developed questions. No one other than the Nominating Committee Members may participate in the interview process. However, all County Committee Members may observe this process.
After the interviews have been completed, the Nominating Committee decides whether or not to make a recommendation for the endorsement, individually by office, to the entire County Committee.
Next a meeting of the County Committee is called by the Chairperson for the purpose of considering the issue of endorsements. At this meeting all candidates who have filed petitions may address the County Committee. The Nominating Committee then makes its recommendations (whether or not to endorse, and who is recommended for endorsement) for each office to the Committee Members. Discussion follows.
The County Committee Members are not bound by the recommendations of the Nominating Committee.
Finally a vote, by secret ballot, asking the same two questions, is conducted. This procedure guarantees that no votes are influenced through intimidation or fear of reprisal. The votes are tallied and the outcome announced.
Sometimes there is no endorsement for an office and no candidate is officially supported by the Party. If a candidate is endorsed, that candidate receives the Party's support.
The power to endorse or not no longer rests within a privileged group, but instead within the entire County Committee. A candidate may be qualified but not recieve an endorsement. This is the way of the ballot. Regardless, each candidate, (whether an incumbent or newcomer), has an equal opportunity to earn the endorsement. This Committee is not a rubber stamp for incumbents or career politicians.