Butler County GOP elects leaders. What some are saying about the state of the Republican Party now.

The Butler County Republican Party this week overwhelmingly re-elected its two leaders: Todd Hall as executive chair and Chris Wunnenberg as Central Committee chair.

Hall was challenged by Jennifer Gross, of West Chester Twp., while Wunnenberg was challenged by Jeremiah York, of West Chester Twp.

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Hall received 123 votes to be re-elected for a second full term, and Wunnenberg was re-elected to his first full term.

Hall was first elected in late 2015 to fill the unexpired term of former executive chairman David Kern, and then re-elected in May 2016. Wunnenberg was elected to the unexpired term of former Central Committee chairwoman Judy Shelton.

Hall said under his leadership the party is again on the right path.

“We have a direction again. Once again Butler County is a powerful force,” he said. “The state of our party is terrific, there is no question about it. We have made Butler County great again.’”

But Gross, a retired Air Force officer, said a change in leadership is needed because “our county party has strayed from its foundation.”

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“We need to unite behind the core Republican values that vetted in our platform,” she said. “As a party, we need to conduct ourselves with those principles in all that we do: honor, integrity, truth and dignity. Our platform echoes these values, none others.”

She also emphasized that she wasn’t running against Hall, but rather for the members “who believe in the values that founded our nation.”

Gross said an active party means its members are engaged, and it is knowledgeable about bills and candidates “so we can fully advise our voters.”

“We need to be active in the relationships with our precincts,” she said. “We need to be knocking on doors, rolling up our sleeves, getting dirty, knowing the names of the people that show up at our polls. All of them.”

Gross also said the Butler County GOP's finances need to be "above reproach and stay off the front page of the paper."

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Hall said when he took over the county party in late 2015, it had $65,000 in bad debt — including a $30,000-plus lawsuit for back rent at Bridgewater Falls — a dwindling volunteer base, a mess of an endorsement process and $400 in the party's checkbook.

Additionally, he said, “The state Republican Party barely gave us an afterthought.”

Today, he said the lease with Bridgewater Falls is current and the lawsuit settled, there’s zero unpaid debt, the volunteer base “has absolutely exploded,” and every endorsed candidate won their primary this past May. There’s also more than $90,000 in the party’s bank account, he said.

“One thing my grandfather, (former party executive chair) Carlos Todd taught me is, ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,’” he said. “I’m here to assure you tonight that (the Butler County Republican Party) is not broken at all and it does not need to be fixed.”

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