Political Party Roles

What is a County Committee Chair?

The county Democratic or Republican chairperson represents her party in the entire county. In other words, he/she is the party boss at the county level. The county chair is the party's information source to the local media and has a duty to keep state and national party officials informed of the activity of the party in his/her county.

As important, the county chair works with the executive committee making choices as to which candidates get party support and which don’t. They field candidates for seats such as County Commissioner, County Executive, Mayors, Municipal Council, School Board, Common Pleas Judges, District Judges, and more.

The Republican and Democratic county chairs also work with the Election Board to make appointments to unfilled election worker positions (Judge of Elections, Election Inspectors, and so on).

So, the county chair has a great deal of power throughout an entire county. Often, these chairpersons are party loyalists who support only candidates who they can control. Generally, they block or otherwise destroy “outsiders” who wish to run for political office.

The County Committee Chair is elected by the County Committee People. In most counties, the Chair's term is four years. However, some counties are on a two year cycle.

What is a County Committee Person?

A committee person is his or her political party’s representative in each local precinct. Committee people serve as a point of contact between the voters and their political party. Committee people are considered party officers. They are not public officials or government employees.

Committee people have a core responsibility to help “get out the vote” for their political party. But the committeeperson can make the job as big or as small as they want. Some committee people just choose to work on Election Day, but many are in touch with their party and their neighbors all year long, keeping them informed of important local, state and sometimes, national issues.

Generally, running for committee person does not require substantial resources. All that is typically needed is to get at least 10 signatures on a petition to get on the ballot in your precinct. Chances are good that you would have no competition and would win that seat in the primary.

There are two committee seats available in each precinct, and for each party. Most important, committee people get to vote for or against a sitting county chair. So if the chair is not doing his/her job, committee people can replace the chair.

County Committee people are elected by the electorate of their own party in a primary. In most counties, the Committeeperson's term is four years. However, some counties are on a two year cycle.

What is a State Committee Person?

The State Committee Person's job is to develop statewide party policy, coordinate the activities of political party organizations within the counties, and endorse statewide candidates for party nomination, including the state party chair.

Each county has a set number of state committee seats. These seats are elected every 4 years to coincide with the Presidential election. State Committee people are elected by the electorate of their own party in a primary. The County Chairperson is also on State Committee.