The Franklin County Republican Party elected a slate of officers, including a new chairman, at a reorganization meeting Saturday.
Joel Schrader won the local GOP leadership position by 47-15 vote, ousting Stuart Victor as chairman, The State Journal has confirmed.
Schrader spent nine years with the CIA, served as deputy director of the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security and owns Capital Living, a monthly newspaper.
More than 70 local Republicans attended the meeting at Paul Sawyier Public Library. Victor’s motion that the vote be officially recorded as unanimous carried.
Schrader said his first priority will be to improve the party’s organization. That means bringing more Republicans into the fold and streamlining communications, he said.
“We had a great turnout today, and a lot of that was because we got on the phone and invited people,” Schrader said by phone Saturday.
The party intends to launch a website and Facebook page, he said. Improving the local party’s outreach will create a support network for Republican candididates in local elections, he added.
Schrader, who lost a bid for state representative in 2002, said while most voters in Franklin County are registered Democrats, many have voted conservative in national and congressional elections.
“We’ve got to give Democrats a reason to change their registration, and that’s part of communication,” he said.
Victor, who served as the local party’s chairman for six years, said he fully supports Schrader and doesn’t plan to disappear from local politics. He intends to help Republican Andy Barr in his congressional race against Rep. Ben Chandler.
“My legacy is the people that I helped run their campaigns and worked with on the committee,” he said. “That’s my legacy, and that’s what I really care about more than anything else –not my chairmanship.”
Victor said he moved that the final vote be recorded as unanimous because the party should unite behind the new chairman.
Franklin County Republicans also elected Jonathan Gaby, who served as the group’s youth chairman and founded the Frankfort Young Republicans, as vice chairman and Derrick Napier, a Frankfort police sergeant who lost a bid for sheriff in 2010, as its youth chairman.
Other elected officers include David Denton, treasurer, and Phyllis Vincent, secretary.
Gaby said the standing-room-only crowd in the library’s conference room should show that Republicans are a serious contender in the fall elections and beyond.
“The Republican Party is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the coming election and the coming years, especially in Frankfort,” Gaby said by phone Saturday.
“I guess I’m putting Democrats on notice that this not going to be so easy in the next couple years.”
“It’s a bright, beautiful, sunny Saturday, and we had all these people come out and put in the time because they’re energized about the cause, and we got them energized by simply making personal invitations and getting them to turn out,” he said.