The Venango County Republican Party has been dominated for generations by the Breene family. Martha Breene (right) is presently GOP party chair and her husband, Charlie, is the party committee person. Thus it's been for many, many years. Suddenly this year, it seems that Diane Gramley (below, President of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania) has taken an interest in GOP party politics.
Diane and a few of her followers examined the signatures on the ballot petition forms for GOP committee positions and found minor errors on 10 of them including the petition form of Martha Breene. Diane filed a complaint with the board of elections which ruled in Diane's favor and removed the names of the 10 individuals from the ballot including Martha's name.
Martha and the other GOP committee candidates immediately hired a lawyer, Mike Hadley, and sued to have their names restored to the ballot. The court hearing on Tuesday was noisy and choatic with frequent outbursts not only from those directly involved but from spectators as well.
One interesting bit of testimony was that Diane wished to replace the GOP chair, Martha Breene, and the 9 committee people with members of the local Tea Party headed by Jane Richey, an old ally of Diane's and owner of WAWN which is the local Christian Broadcasting radio affiliate. (The dynamically bumbling duo is pictured here, Richey on left, Gramley on right.)
I just spoke to a friend in the courthouse who tells me that Judge White handed down his decision today in favor of Martha Breene and the other committee people allowing them additional time to correct the errors on their petition forms which will restore their names to the ballot.
Hence, Diane loses not only in her attempted coup but she loses big time in her standing with the "establishment" in Venango County.