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Parise to return as Jefferson County Republican Party chairman

STEUBENVILLE — The future looks positive for the Jefferson County Republican Party. That’s the view of Matt Parise, who has been re-elected as chairman of the local GOP.

“I think that in the last four to eight years we have seen an increase in residents who are registered as Republicans and who get elected as Republicans,” Parise explained.

Parise, who has been involved in Republican politics for several years, said he sees continued growth for the party.

“I’m very pleased with the number of candidates we have running this year,” he said. “We’d like to see more, but there’s a lot of activity on the local level and the interest in re-electing President Donald Trump is growing.”

While this is a presidential election year, area residents who cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election will have a full slate of candidates to choose from on the county and state levels. That should make for an interesting run-up to the election, according to Parise.

“There are some very competitive races,” he said. “We have good candidates running at the county level. I’m pleased we have young people running who will bring new and fresh ideas.”

It’s a list that includes Republican Dave Maple, who will be seeking re-election to the Jan. 2 Jefferson County commissioner seat against Democrat Bob Smith; Republican Tony Morelli, who will be facing Democrat Ed Littlejohn and independents Daniel Cermak and Patrick Murphy for the Jan. 3 commissioner seat; Republican Ron Ferguson, who will be facing Democrat Richard Olivito and Libertarian Oscar Herrera for state representative; and Republican Andrew Plesich, who will face Democrat Darrin Corrigan in the county clerk of courts race.

Parise said other strong Republican candidates includes state Sen. Frank Hoagland of Mingo Junction, who is seeking re-election and running against Democrat Michael Fletcher, and U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, who is seeking re-election and running against Democrat Shawna Roberts.

“Our candidates on the local, state and national level are strong and competitive,” Parise said. “We expect Trump to win big in Jefferson County like he did in 2016. There’s huge support for him.”

Political parties, like other organizations, have been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions which have limited the amount of face-to-face campaigning and fundraising candidates and their supporters have been able to do. That’s been an issue, Parise said.

“I believe that’s been a big challenge,” he said. “Right now, we are looking forward to things opening up in late summer and early fall when we will be able shake hands and go door-to-door. We’ve been doing a lot through social media, holding Zoom meetings and talking with people over the phone.”

Also elected to posts with the party’s executive committee during the May 20 meeting were Brian Scarpone, who was re-elected as vice chairman; Tyra Timmons, who was chosen as treasurer; and Fran Rensi, who was elected as secretary. The central committee re-elected Kimberly Hahn as vice chairwoman and chose Tom Timmons as treasurer and Rensi as secretary.

Parise said his main goal during the next four years is to work to reach every corner of the county and state, bringing the Republican message of less government and more freedom to everyone.

“I feel the party is moving forward,” he added. “We’re looking to the fall and beyond. We’re a strong party in Jefferson County and there’s no reason to think it won’t get stronger and stronger every year.”

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