Written by Brittany Tressler and Nicole Foulke
On Wednesday, Montgomery County Republican Committee (MCRC) members met at Westover Country Club in West Norriton to unanimously elect State Representative Mike Vereb (R-150) as the leader of the organization, in a move that Party leaders believe will end decades of bitter divide between warring factions of the party.
Vereb, smiling, addressed the room, and reminded his party members of their assets and fortitude that they will rely on in the future.
“If we are to work together, the best interests of our party must always come before personal agendas. We must be inclusive and work together,” he said.
This unifying moment, where legislative members joined with the public to celebrate their new republican figurehead, has come after a roller coaster of a month for the county of organization.
Oct. 24, MCRC was making strides towards the future of the organization – then-chairman Robert J. Kerns took the same Westover podium with Governor Tom Corbett at its annual fundraiser to announce that National Republican Committeeman Bob Asher and Lower Merion millionaire Vahan Gureghian would forces after years of disagreement, and would co-chair the group’s finance committee, with Kerns remaining at the helm of the group.
The following day, according to District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, Kerns allegedly drugged and raped an employee at his Upper Gwynedd law firm and resigned his post as chairman on Nov. 15, a week before nearly 20 charges were filed against him.
The day after Kerns announced his resignation, names began popping up as interested candidates – from State Representative Kate Harper to Abington attorney Robert Adshead – but Vereb’s name – particularly due to his work to bring Gureghian and Asher prior to the Oct. 24 dinner – resonated with Committee members, and leadership.
Even County Commissioner Bruce Castor, who was said by party leaders to be the odd man out in the Asher-Gureghian truce, has voiced support for Vereb. Castor was present Wednesday night, and Vereb cheerfully called out his name to the public in recognition.
"The REAL 'Unification' has come today when leaders of various feuding factions came together to support Mike Vereb to be the next Montco GOP Chair," Castor announced on Facebook on Nov. 15.
MCRC Treasurer Dr. Robert Griffith gave Vereb’s nomination, stepping onto the stage to say that, as he had spoke to multiple county leaders previous to the election, Vereb’s name surfaced.
“Mike’s history is of hard work and effective management, which I hope he will bring to Montgomery County Republican Committee soon,” Griffith said.
Vereb, who currently represents parts of Collegeville, Trappe, East and West Norriton, Lower and Upper Providence and Norristown to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and serves as secretary of the Republican Caucus in Harrisburg, will run for re-election to his legislative post next year.
“As for my constituents, my votes will continue to represent our district,” Vereb said on Facebook. “They have not and will not be partisan votes. I will continue to represent and fight for our district.”
After the election, Vereb told Patch that he was very excited about his new position.
“What we really look forward to is continuing to build downward into the committee level to eliminate some of the friction that has persisted, and get people focused on the end line, which is winning elections for republicans,” Vereb said.