Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Can Republicans win again in Montgomery County? The new GOP chair shares his approach.

GOP chairman Christian Nascimento, a Comcast executive, talks about turning things around in the suburbs, Joe Gale, and Ron DeSantis.

Christian Nascimento, 49, of Lower Providence, was elected chairman of the Montgomery County GOP.
Christian Nascimento, 49, of Lower Providence, was elected chairman of the Montgomery County GOP.Read moreCourtesy

How do you energize a Republican Party that keeps losing in the Philadelphia suburbs?

In Montgomery County, the GOP is betting on a Comcast executive and self-described workhorse. Christian Nascimento, 49, of Lower Providence, became the county’s new GOP chair this month.

His election comes as both parties prepare for local races this year. Democrats have held a 2-1 majority on the county board of commissioners since 2012. And Republican Commissioner Joe Gale, who holds the seat reserved for the minority party, has been bashing the party since he was first elected in 2015.

In statewide elections, Democrats have run up big margins in the suburbs, far outpacing Republican gains in rural areas. There are about three registered Democrats for every two registered Republicans in the county, according to state data.

Nascimento — a vice president of product at Comcast and former Methacton school board president who ran for Congress last year — said he knows reversing the trend won’t be easy.

“I’d be foolish to say things are going to happen overnight,” he said. “But I think we’re gonna put some points on the board. ... I try to be a workhorse, not a show horse.”

In an interview Wednesday, Nascimento spoke about his plan, last year’s midterms — in which Republicans lost races for Senate and governor — and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who traveled to Montgomery County last month.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What made you want to run for county chair, and how do you plan to build the party?

Having just run in a federal race, I’ve kind of seen the highs and lows and seen what the landscape of the infrastructure of the party is. ... There are some municipalities where we’ve had some success, and we can continue to have success. ... And we have to expand who we’re talking to and how we’re talking to them.

I think there’s been lots of talk over the years about Latino voters and Republicans, but I haven’t seen the party do enough to invite them in and to talk to them outside of an election cycle.

That’s a really fast-growing part of Montgomery County, and the country, obviously. And so I think ... pivoting away from being the party of retribution, being more of the party of common sense and ideas — I think those are the types of things that will resonate with people.

What are some of your takeaways from the midterm results?

I wasn’t thrilled with some of the results that we had. I believe strongly that the party apparatus has to endorse candidates. That is kind of the whole reason that we’re there, is to help the average voter discern who shares their values and who’s somebody that they can support.

And I think the party made a mistake by not endorsing [in the governor’s race]. ... I thought that we had some candidates that had some better ideas [than Republican nominee Doug Mastriano]. ... You have to tell the voter what you believe and what you’re going to do for them and what your vision is. I think we’ve got to get crisper and better on that, and I want to help candidates do that.

Democrats have controlled the county commissioners board for more than a decade. How is the county doing from a governance perspective?

I think the criticism that I would have about the county government is a number of things — whether it’s spending on the new headquarters, whether it’s some of the school lockdowns that they enforced going back into COVID.

… We’re going to try and present an alternative of folks that are qualified for the positions and have an eye for service.

The GOP endorsed Liz Ferry and Tom DiBello for commissioner. What should voters know about them?

They have great experience, both professionally and from a local government standpoint ... that will really lend themselves well to serving the county.

What’s the deal with the GOP’s relationship with Joe Gale? He recently said the party wants a “lapdog” Republican on the board.

I don’t know what Commissioner Gale’s issue with the party has been. ... What I would say is that Joe Gale is serving himself, he’s not serving the people of Montgomery County right now.

Just to go in there, scream about something and vote no every time — it doesn’t drive the agenda forward. And I think that there are things that he could be doing as minority commissioner that could get better results for all the people of Montgomery County. So, look, we’re not looking for a lapdog. We’re looking for a public servant.

You met Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently. What was your impression and do you hope he runs for president?

Very dynamic. He had a great story to tell. I said that he was the closest thing to Ronald Reagan that I had seen in a long time. ...

I’m certainly going to be supporting and cheering for folks that I think would serve the country well, and certainly, win.

Your thoughts on the prospect of former President Trump being indicted by a grand jury in New York?

I’m not an attorney. I’m not a prosecutor. So I don’t want to go and make any kind of suppositions on what’s going to happen or what’s not going to happen. I think that certainly there’s a political angle to this. ... It’s just not going to be great for the country, no matter what.