The Republican Party was founded on November 27, 1854, in the home of David Wilmot in Towanda, Pennsylvania. Wilmot gathered his friends — former Governor Simon Cameron, Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, Colonel Alexander McClure, and former Governor Samuel Curtin — to form local Republican Clubs in their home counties.
The Pennsylvania Republican Party takes great pride in the fact that the first national convention was held in Pittsburgh on February 22, 1856. Later, party delegates held their first nominating convention at Philadelphia’s Musical Fund Hall on June 17, 1856. Two years later, on September 5, 1858, Pennsylvania’s Republican Clubs met in Pittsburgh to form the state Republican Party.
Of the 65 counties in the Commonwealth at that time, 64 were represented at the Pittsburgh Convention. David Wilmot served as the first Chairman of the Republican Party. In October of 1858, the Republican Party elected their first statewide official, John M. Reid, to the Supreme Court.
In 1860, the Republican Party elected Samuel Curtin to the Governor’s office and gained control of the state Senate — which they did not relinquish for 30 years.
In 1959, George I. Bloom turned the Republican Party into a statewide organization with a new permanent headquarters in Harrisburg.
Our Party Today
The Republican Party is located in our remodeled headquarters at The Shaner Republican Center in downtown Harrisburg, at 112 State Street.
Our party has kept pace with an ever-changing world to include an online headquarters at www.pagop.org, as well as a rapidly growing grassroots e-mail network. Today, there are party organizations in all 67 counties as well as elected Republican officials at all levels of government.
Our Party’s Structure
Registered Republicans elect state party members by county or by district in the primary election in which a governor is to be elected.
State party members and County Chairman serve on the state party and elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman to a four-year term. State party members also elect a National Committeeman and National Committeewoman to represent Pennsylvania, along with the Chairman, on the Republican National Committee.
Learn More About Our Party
Follow the links below to learn more about the PA GOP.