Republican party supporters wave an American flag and placards for passing cars to see at the corner of Valencia Blvd. and Bouquet Canyon Road in Santa Clarita on Friday November, 2, 2018. Dan Watson/The Signal

SCV GOP central leadership undergoes transition in preparation for 2019

The Republican Central Committee for the Santa Clarita Valley — a local group of Republican Party members who help organize their party’s candidates and volunteers during local election seasons — announced Mark Hershey, the former committee deputy chairman, has been selected to serve as the new chair.

The decision to name Hershey as the new leader of the seven-person committee comes after longtime chairman Joe Messina announced that he would be stepping down at the end of 2018, giving the deputy chairman a chance to stand at the helm.

“I was tired and it was just getting harder and harder each election,” said Messina, “especially in this climate.”

However, Messina said he plans to continue to serve on the committee as the body’s treasurer and the delegate responsible for community outreach and media relations.

Hershey steps into the committee leadership role during a time of restructuring and revamping for the Republican Party in the wake of the 2018 midterm election, one that he characterized as eye-opening for his party.

Hershey said that one of the committee’s primary focuses will be to reexamine the content and disbursement strategies for the SCV GOP’s message to voters here locally, something he believes was missing during the 2018 midterm election.

“We’re going to have that first meeting next year and we’re going to learn from the mistakes we made this last year,” said Hershey.

“We’re going to start earlier this year, with everything from fundraising to finding and building up our candidates,” said Hershey. “We’re going to figure out strategies to reach out to the young conservatives of Santa Clarita and we’re going to energize our voters.”

Messina said that in order to make sure the committee’s message connects and is supported by voters, the committee has already begun to lay out plans to: revitalize the number of young Republicans who are active in the party; proactively seek volunteers who would register voters and knock on doors; and lastly they will ensure that all would-be candidates know they would be properly prepared and supported if they chose to run as a Republican for a local office.

“We’re going to rebuild and we’re going to beef up the things that we’ve seen can be successful,” said Messina. “We’re going to revisit what made us win.”

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