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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"Saddened" LC GOP Chair Resigns

As you can see in the letter below, Jessica Banotai has resigned as Lehigh County's GOP Chair. She apparently blames herself that the Lehigh County Executive and Allentown Mayoral positions have remained blue.

Let me tell you a little bit about Jessica. She's a Kutztown University graduate who has worked as a staffer for Congressman Charlie Dent and Senator Pat Toomey. She has always been both pleasant and professional. She was certainly that way when I saw her at a last-minute news conference called by Dent in early September to announce formally that he decided against running for Congress next year. It was at that time that Dent was being back-stabbed by his supposed former supporter, Justin Simmons. NorCo's GOP boss, General Lee Snover, had stated at a pro-Trump rally, "I looked into Charlie Dent's eyes, and I saw the swamp."

Like their hero, Donald Trump's myrmidons are never content with a simple criticism. They tend to get personal and ugly. In a PoliticsPa story about Dent's looming retirement, someone impersonated Banotai and posted some very personal remarks about her private life. It's the kind of information that only an insider like Justin Simmons would possess. Though there is no proof that Simmons or his supporters were behind this impersonation, this kind of ugly attack politics is something Simmons has always used in his previous campaigns for the state house.

I saw Banotai shortly after she was impersonated, and she was quite shaken.

The impersonation was eventually removed. Then Banotai herself was caught suggesting, as a joke, that Simmons be featured on a billboard as a member of Hitler youth. She made her comment in a text message she shared with a small group of friends. Except one of them was not her friend.

Next thing you know, Justin Simmons was playing the victim card everywhere he could, and was demanding that Banotai step down.

What happened to her is what often happens in sports. Someone gives you a shot when the ref's attention is elsewhere. You respond, and he's suddenly paying attention.

Rather than abandoning her party on the eve of an election, Banotai hung in there. She's stepping down now, on her own terms. She can fault herself for failing to elect a Republican as Lehigh County Executive or Allentown mayor. But it could be worse. Those seats were already Democratic. In NorCo, the Executive and four Council seats turned blue. While General Lee is draining the swamp, Democrats now have control of the Executive and Council.

Banotai's resignation:

It is with both sadness and pride that I notify you of my intention to resign my position as Chair of the Lehigh County Republican Committee effective immediately. It has been a great honor to serve as the Chair of this committee. I will always cherish the support I received from members of this committee when I was elected to serve as Chair in 2016.

I want to congratulate Marc Grammes, Tom Creighton, Percy Dougherty and Melissa Pavlack for their successful campaigns. I am certain they will serve the citizens of Lehigh County with great distinction.

Like you, I am also deeply saddened by the other results from Tuesday's elections. Lehigh County Republicans were ably represented by strong standard-bearers for our values and beliefs by Commissioner Brad Osborne and by Nat Hyman. Both of them put all of their energies and heart into their campaigns.

Sadly, based on unprecedented results from neighboring counties, Northampton, Bucks and Montgomery where Republican candidates were also wiped out practically across the board, they likely ran into the jaws of a wave election. This happens sometimes and there are certainly issues that will need to be addressed both locally and nationally by dedicated Republicans as a result of the lessons learned last night.

I truly wish that I could have helped this committee spearhead recapturing both the County Executive's seat and the Mayor's office in Allentown. Your hard work, dedication and tenacity are the backbone of the Lehigh County Republican Committee and I applaud you.

While I have had my differences with some of you, it is my sincerest hope that we can leave those in the past. I look forward to continuing to support the Committee's efforts, just not as Chair.

I wish you all and Vice Chair Sean Gill great success in the future.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Get your facts straight! The text message that was sent was a text message that went out to all of the YRs, as they have often done their business that way. She can cry the victim all she wants, but crying the victim was only backpeddling for a very serious request she put out there. Before you say she took fault for losing the two biggest seats in LC, ask her what she had done to help these candidates. I'll be waiting to hear!

Anonymous said...

You compare her to Ms. Snover?

Anonymous said...

She needed to resign, she was biased, maybe someone can rebuild the lehigh county committee that it will be more effective. Don't blame Simmons on Dents departure, he lost the support of many republicans in his district, Simmons was a symptom of his poor support, What many don't understand is that both him and toomey really did get re-elected on the Trumps coat-tails. Everyone held their noses to keep the house and senate. Since when are you concerned about Republicans, other then Dent.

Anonymous said...

Why would any woman younger than 55 be a member of the GOP? The only thing the party offers is no health care, no reproductive choices and men run everything. Reminds me of the Catholic Church

Anonymous said...

Suggesting the Gop chair is responsible for Osborne's loss is like saying the Dem chair is responsible for Armstrong's win. I believe this election came the reliability of a persons word and past record voting for or against causes that are important to residents. County government is to do the heavy lifting that local governments can't do on their own. They should leverage our dollars to bring more of Federal and State money back to the region. They put the bad guys away and they provide the safety net for our senior and at risk youth. I personally am tired of gimmick tax givebacks with borrowed dollars. Why would any responsible government give "bond" dollars back as a one time gimmick knowing major capital investments were just around the corner. In our own lives, when the house needs a new roof we do not splurge on "feel good" vacation with credit cards. We fix the damn roof. One has to believe some are intent on creating a crisis to justify more bad decisions?

Anonymous said...

Her resignation letter was quite eloquent. However, tenacity was never a trait in her political DNA. In a year of political in-fighting inside the GOP, she should have stayed clear of national issues and concentrated on the local problems. Granted, a democratic backlash was inevitable, however, their was no excuses in some of the races. An accused felony suspect wins the Allentown mayoral race and a impeccable republican, with experience and business acumen, lost the LC Executive race to a school teacher. With successes like this, her resignation was imminent!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

Try posting a comment without being a sexist, if you can.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:34 said:

"County government is to do the heavy lifting that local governments can't do on their own."

Uh, no, they aren't.

County government has specific areas of responsibility, just like local governments have (different) specific areas of responsibility. By focusing and limiting their efforts to the things they are responsible for, they are able to provide accountability to the taxpayers (same with local municipalities).

It certainly isn't a county's job to pay for the tasks that mismanaged municipalities find financially difficult to do, if that's what your suggesting.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:35AM "...Dents departure, he lost the support of many republicans in his district,..."

Dent is the poster boy for the perils of gerrymandering. Republicans carved out a nice super safe district for him, but one that demanded strict adherence to far right orthodoxy, which equates to bad government just the same as far left government.

In the end we all get stuck with stubborn nitwits in congress who can't do a thing.

Unknown said...

“myrmidon” - a hired ruffian or unscrupulous subordinate.

Love it, a word with which I was not familiar.

Currently reading "The Heart of Everything That Is" about the Sioux chief Red Cloud.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:50 said...

"Why would any woman younger than 55 be a member of the GOP? The only thing the party offers is no health care, no reproductive choices and men run everything"

Let me respond directly to the points you cite, and then add three of my own.

To your points:

1) Government-run healthcare is a failure (ObamaCare, VA);

2) She might object to the genocide waged by the Democrats against minority babies in this country

3) SHE just resigned as LC Republican Chair, so I guess men weren't running that.

In addition:

1) She might be capable of basic math, and realize the goodies being promised by the Left aren't sustainable.

2) She believes in individual freedom and realizes the financial burden of the Left's "solutions" will enslave our children and grandchildren.

3) She's visited any of the nearby utopias (NY, DC, Allentown) run by the Democrats and has seen the real-world effects of the programs democrats pursue.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ben, I'm reading Chernow's Grant.

Anonymous said...

) She might be capable of basic math, and realize the goodies being promised by the Left aren't sustainable.
To bad you didn't tell the Northampton County Republicans that. Maybe they would have not raised taxes and taken on massive spending, while losing the election.

Anonymous said...

Oh please! Jess got caught being underhanded. Her group text to the YRC proved her biased and unscrupulous behavior, for which she should of resigned. She refused to resign. She stuck it out for the election. And for what? To prove that she and the rest of the LRC are ineffective losers.

Anonymous said...

There's a reason that Dent has the nickname dirty. Dirty Dent epitomizes cut throat politics. So, his employee that forced her way into the chair person position of the LRC just emulated her boss. She was dirty to the core and everyone knew it. So, spare me the victim card. She brought all of this negativity onto herself. She should of been transparent and honest.

Anonymous said...

1026, so you would do away with the RIC (regional crime center)? Would you not try to promote the regions economic opportuniites? Would you stop supporting DiscoverLV and LVEDC. Would you dump farmland preservation? Would you walk away from the opioid crisis. Would you disband the conservation district, auto theft prevention task force, I for one do not want duplicated services at the local level that can be better served with a Regional approach.

Anonymous said...

The truth always comes out in the wash and so, has the dirt with the Lehigh county republican committee. Interesting that someone in high profile position is shocked that people knew all about her.

Anonymous said...

In Allentown justice prevailed.
The best man won.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, based on your logic Lamont must have run the GOTV operation and campaign in LC, Norco, AND Virginia too! He is brilliant!

Anonymous said...

I wish she had simply issued a sincere apology for poor judgment in the Simmons matter and rallied the troops and remained as Chair. She is intelligent, tough and savvy and very capable as the LCRC Chair. I do believe Hyman surrounded himself with ineffective advisors. I would have ignored Pawlowski and gone after O'Connell from day one. A better anti-O'Connell write in message in the West End might have led to a Hyman victory. O'Connell and his inner circle of supporters duped a bunch of well meaning, otherwise intelligent West End voters into helping Pawlowski win.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie, based on your logic Lamont must have run the GOTV operation and campaign in LC, Norco, AND Virginia too! He is brilliant!"

McClure's margin of victory in NC was 53.8% to 46.14%. Armstrong's margin in Lehigh was 52.69% to 47.23%. McClure's margin was 1.2% better than a Democrat in an adjoining county with nearly identical demographics and less Democrats. So yes, Trump was the main factor, but McClure did even better as a result of a flawless campaign.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I would have ignored Pawlowski and gone after O'Connell from day one."

It's a good thing Hyman was not using you. It would be extremely foolish to pay attention to a candidate struggling with a write-in. Yu would just be raising Ray's visibility.

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget we had a fine, experienced Northampton County Republican candidate for State Rep and we ended up fielding a LIVE-AT-HOME graduate that was remarkably unqualified. Shame on the Party establishement for defending his defective petitions.

Now "SChinooki" loves collecting those per diems and voting against the 183rd. Has to use phone-a-friend to know how to vote. Very disappointed in SChinooki.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Hyman's campaign, we can agree to disagree. I spoke to many voters in West End who didn't realize they were only helping Pawlwoski by writing in O'Connell. It's my firm belief that a focused effort to regularly voting West End residents with an anti-O'Connell write in message would have been a more effective strategy. In any event, O'Connell has given us a 4th term of Pawlowski and at this point I'm actually routing for Pawlowski to get off the hook so that O'Connell can't get in.

Anonymous said...

Complicit Trumpublicans will be falling like dominos across the nation. You know full well what this President is doing and standing with him in any way will cost you dearly. I feel a tsunami.

Anonymous said...

I highly doubt a lot of those voters would have come out if O'Connell wasn't on the Ballot. The person who most benefited from the O'Connell write in was Armstrong not Pawlwoski

Anonymous said...

opps if O'Connell hadn't run the write-in campaign

Anonymous said...

Pawlowski brought the Democrats out.
3 out of 4 voted straight Democrat.
Therefore Armstrong should be thanking the Allentown Democrats for his victory.
Also, I must state that Hyman and Osborne ran poor races.
Hyman and Pawlowski should have debated.
Why didn't they.
I heard O'Connell was also going to be invited and Hyman talked to Iannelli and stated that if he comes I will not.
So the Chamber called it off.
Pawlowski and Hyman going head to head would have been interesting, since they were good friends just 2 years ago.
Also, I was told that Hyman donated to his Senate run a good amount of money and asked several other key people to do the same.???????

Anonymous said...

if o'connell hasn't been on the ballot those close to 2200 voters would have stayed home

Anonymous said...

You may have had more undervotes for mayor however, a fair number of the 2200 voters would have voted for Council and County races.

Anonymous said...

Osborne personally worked circles around Armstrong as an individual candidate. Although they were both gentlemen and ran clean campaigns (which was refreshing) Osborne was clearly the better candidate. However, the LC dems totally outmaneuvered, out worked and out organized the LCGOP. The LCGOP chair is a nice person. But Republicans got spanked in two winnable races they should not have lost. Yes, probably Trump backlash played into it. But GOP was clearly outworked.