President Donald Trump has made clear he has little use for Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, as Trump seeks reelection amid the coronavirus pandemic. But as Republicans in the Philadelphia suburbs look to regroup, some think a doctor is just what they need.
Like many Republican organizations in suburban areas across the United States, the Chester County GOP has suffered historic losses since Trump’s election helped fuel a political realignment. Democrats also gained a narrow voter registration edge in the county this year.
So on Monday, 324 members of the Chester County Republican Committee unanimously voted in an online gathering to elect Dr. Gordon Eck as chairman, the party said.
The Chester County GOP is hoping that Eck, who served as the elected county coroner from 2014 to 2018, can help turn things around.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to have the support of this committee and look forward to serving the fine people of our county,” Eck, 67, of Honey Brook, said in a statement Tuesday.
“The Republican Party was founded on the principle of human dignity,” he said. “This dignity, as the Founding Fathers recognized and recorded in the Declaration of Independence, is endowed by our Creator and cannot legitimately be conferred or restricted by human government.”
Eck said fundamental rights such as “the sanctity of life, equal justice and opportunity, and personal freedom” should “guide our approach to issues such as educational choice, access to affordable, quality healthcare, criminal justice reform, racial reconciliation, ending the exploitation of women, and coming alongside those in need.”
Eck, a retired family doctor who serves as medical director for a juvenile detention center, succeeds Rick Loughery, a former chairman of the Pennsylvania Young Republicans and current chairman of the Young Republican National Federation.
Democrats swept to power in the former Republican stronghold last year, taking control of Chester County’s Board of Commissioners for the first time and winning races for district attorney, sheriff, and other county-level offices.
The local wins followed the 2018 election of Democratic U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan. She won an open seat after the GOP incumbent, Ryan Costello, decided not to seek reelection after the Democratic-led state Supreme Court’s decision that the congressional map was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander drawn to benefit Republicans. The high court imposed a new map, and the new 6th District was less favorable to the GOP.
The Philadelphia suburbs aren’t big on Trump, but the Chester County GOP still supports the president. The party urged GOP primary voters last month to vote for the Trump campaign’s endorsed slate of delegates to the Republican National Convention, and in May encouraged supporters to participate in a “Second Amendment Virtual Trump Victory MAGA Meet-Up” for Southeastern Pennsylvania.