Local Republican Party elects new chair

After two-terms in office, the chairman of the St Johns County Republican Party, Harlan Mason, is stepping down, and Historic City News will be watching Thursday evening to see who will lead the county’s largest political party of registered voters for the next two years.

Two high-ranking members of the Party have announced their intention to seek the open seat; current First Vice-Chair, Sean Mulhall of Ponte Vedra Beach; and current State Committeewoman, Becky Reichenberg of Julington Creek.

In accordance with Article IV of the Republican Executive Committee Constitution, the Bi-Annual Organizational Meeting will be held this Thursday, December 6, at 7:00 p.m. at Republican Headquarters located in the Westgate Shopping Center at 525 SR-16 in St Augustine, Mason told Historic City News.

The following statements were prepared and distributed by the two leading candidates:

Sean Mulhall

I began my activism for the Republican Party in 1998, when we Republicans were still underdogs in the state of Florida. I had just graduated from law school and passed the Bar exam when I was recruited by the Republican Party to help manage a congressional campaign in an attempt to unseat Corrine Brown. For the next few months, I worked 7 days a week without pay, living off the remainder of my student loans, as I helped run a campaign for a Republican candidate that I believed in. While we were not successful, it ignited a passion in me to be part of the political process and not simply a Republican voter and observer.

That passion compelled me to work on other campaigns for Republicans and eventually brought me to the Republican Executive Committee of St. Johns County. Initially, I had a difficult time trying to learn much about the Republican Party in St. Johns County, which seemed to be run a bit like a private club. It made no sense to me that a county that, at that time, had more than 70,000 registered Republicans had only 50 REC members, or less, and often could not even reach a quorum to conduct any business.

I had a single message when I was elected as your 1st Vice Chairman: That I would work to grow our REC, because we can and should be a bigger, stronger organization. For the past two years I have been in the middle of heated battles between those like me who wanted to grow the REC by reaching out to all Republicans, and those who thought we should screen applicants and keep out certain types of Republicans. I’m proud to say that myself and those who believe we are the party of all Republicans won that battle. The REC has more than doubled its membership in the past two years and we usually have a quorum, which means we can conduct business and have the REC members cast votes to make our meetings productive.

I have a plan to continue growing this REC, and it begins with outreach to the most devout Republican voters in St. Johns County who aren’t currently REC members, and probably don’t even know who we are. That outreach must also include reaching out to a broader group of people and demographics, who have been led to believe that Republicans don’t care about them. That must change or this party will continue to shrink. We have the tools to communicate with all of our fellow Republicans and invite them in, but we haven’t executed a plan to do so. We can do this through use of voter databases and programs like Web Elect that are used to target voters and generate walk lists for campaigns. From there we can generate very targeted mailings to get the attention of these Republicans and let them know who we are. I believe that we can recruit another 50-100 REC members in the next two years. More members means more influence in the community, and more people to walk, knock, and make phone calls for Republican candidates. After all, that’s why the REC exists isn’t it? If there are more of us in the REC then we have more influence and can be even more effective.

This organization is about YOU, the REC members. Your leadership should be here to guide you, to inform you, and give you the tools you need to do the job. I was disturbed to learn that some REC members felt that they didn’t have the tools to do the job they signed up for as a Precinct Committeeman or Committeewoman during the recent election. That should not happen. I pledge to you that I will ensure that you have that information and the support you need to carry out your duties before the next election. I will also work to secure a headquarters space that we can afford and keep on a long term basis. In fact, I have already spoken to our current Chairman, Harlan Mason, about meeting with the gentlemen who generously provided our current location and who has other options available.

While I share your great disappointment at the results of the recent election, I’m not deterred or demoralized. I still believe in the core values that make the Republican Party the Right choice for Americans and I won’t change my principles to become more like Democrats. History has proven that when we do that we fail, and rightly so. This party is the only party that can pull us back from the brink of becoming more like socialist European countries, with bloated, unsustainable governments and failing economies. I will continue to fight for smaller government, lower taxes and the conservative principles that Republicans believe best resemble the America of our founders and forefathers. I talk to my children about these principles on a regular basis in order to instill these beliefs in them and foster their understanding of why America is the greatest country in the world. It will take all of us and our children to keep it that way.

That’s why I’m running for Chairman of the St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee. I have a vision and a plan to help our REC grow, become stronger, and continue to lead the way for Republicans in Northeast Florida, and I have the leadership skills to help guide us. We turned a corner in the past two years, and we are on the right path, but I need your help to continue moving in the right direction.

Becky Reichenberg

I am asking for your vote and support in running for Chairman of the St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee.

In the last 8 years I have been actively involved in St. Johns County GOP activities and many know how committed and dedicated to the Republican principles and party I am by my work.

Here is a brief list:

• NW Club member- 2004 – present
• NW Club President- 2006-2008
• Precinct Committeewoman- 2005-2012
• State Committeewoman – 2008-2012 – Twice Elected County-wide
• Managed McCain/Palin HQ/campaign – County 2-1 for McCain
• Managed Romney/Ryan campaign – County 2-1 for Romney
• Delegate- Congressional District 7-2012 GOP convention-Tampa
• Republican Party of FL State Get Out the Vote Committee – because of my successful work in the local GOTV area
• Appointed to FL Women’s Committee – 2008-2010
• Appointed by Congressman Mica for Washington National Women’s Conference – 2009
• Established St. Johns County Federated Republican Women – 2009
• President of SJFRW – 2009-2012 – Recognized as one of fastest growing Federated women’s groups in FL.
• Appointed by RPOF to be mentor for State Committee members
• Attend almost every county GOP Club meeting/event monthly for years
• Have rarely missed a REC meeting for 8 years
• Have recruited an army of dedicated volunteers
• Have GOP events at our home on a regular basis

I have secured national, state, and local speakers for many varied events and have been successful in helping appoint conservative judges, elected officials, and state board appointments.

I have worked tirelessly over the last 8 years and hope you feel I have earned the position of Chairman of our great party. I will continue to work just as hard as your Chairman to build the party to be the respected, vital, cohesive unit it should be.

I would love to have a permanent Headquarters. It has been very tiring to pack up, move, re-build every 18 months. I have been there and done that 4 times so I know it is difficult but I will not put us in jeopardy of depleting our treasury. I know how to budget and project expenses. I raised $5,400 for our 2011 headquarters by one email so it can be done and I have researched several successful ideas to do so again beginning in January! The time to get started was November 7th. I began back then!

I will answer any questions and am always available. My numbers and address have always been at the bottom of my emails and will continue to be so. Please be expecting a call from me.

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