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How to properly pronounce “Lancaster” and why it matters, here

“Lan—Cas–Ter.”

When I heard the radio ad with that unnatural, long, drawn out pronunciation of the county and city just south of me, the endless chasm between the syllables felt years apart, so unnatural that my internal warning system flashed “outsider alert, outsider alert.”

This ear-grating goofball advertisement played for two days before being pulled and replaced with the same voice, but subsequently correctly saying “Lancaster” as almost one long syllable.

How many calls and emails did the radio station get about this? Evidently enough to make an impression on the people in charge of advertising. Running a radio advertisement that annoys the audience is counterproductive, and you’d have to hear from a large enough segment or sample of that audience to get the message that your message was not just falling flat, but actually bothering your target audience. People cared enough to contact the radio station and voice their opinion.

Why do Central Pennsylvanians care about how their locations are pronounced?

Probably for the same reason that Perry County has communities like Newport and Duncannon and New Bloomfield housing most of the county’s 30,000 citizens, and yet those same people will tell you they are from Perry County. Not from Newport, New Bloomfield, or Duncannon. This is because the identity of the locals in Perry County, and elsewhere around the Central Pennsylvania region, is one of community, togetherness, joined together in common interests and identity. Not separated from one another, as in most other places. The larger community, like the county, is the defining characteristic for the residents. We all belong here and we belong to each other, in common and shared purpose.

I recall reading a linguistics study of Central Pennsylvania years ago, and how the authors traced the unique accent here to Swiss and German immigrants in the 1700s. And in fact, if you talk to older old order Amish and some older old order Mennonites, you will indeed hear that very distinct English spoken with some sort of heavily foreign accent. Like all languages, including British English, Southern drawl American, Ebonics in the ‘hood, and so on, this common sound is the sound shared by a commonly identifying group of people. When they hear the familiar pronunciation of their own language, they know they are communicating with someone who is “one of us.”

One of the defining characteristics of Central Pennsylvania is its pretty resilient regional identity, including political views and political engagement, religiousness, and so on. Outside forces may be at work here, altering our beautiful landscape with criminally ugly warehouses and temporarily bombarding our ears with Flatlander-foolish pronunciations of our local places, but through it all, we still hold on to our common identity, our common purpose, our common interests.

Central Pennsylvania is still one big community with common identity. This is one of the reasons that the Obama Administration targeted Lancaster County (and rural Minnesota) for simply air-drop dumping huge numbers of fresh foreign immigrants, most of whom could neither speak nor read English, but who had been carefully instructed how to vote for the “(D)” on the ballot. Politicized efforts to disrupt traditional American sense of community and togetherness, and common purposes and commonly held interests and values, are increasing, as one political party in particular attempts to destroy and re-make America into an identity-less, gender-less, Constitution-less, all-powerful big government global nerve center for everyone on the planet and every cockamamie idea that will destroy “evil” capitalism etc.

And this is why people here so strenuously resist the improper pronunciation of “Lancaster.”

This mispronunciation concretely represents the outside evil forces arrayed against our traditional identity and lifestyle. When we reject that pronunciation, we are asserting our identity and rejecting outsiders, carpetbaggers who attempt to sell us snake oil without even taking the littlest amount of time to understand our closest held thoughts and beliefs. And they fail to do that because they simply don’t care about us or our religious redneck identity; and, in fact, they look down on us.

For all you outsiders, for the record, here in Central Pennsylvania we pronounce Lancaster as one long, fast, single syllable, Lancaster. Not like actor Burt Lan-cas-ter, who, as a Hollywood actor engaged in silly dress-up and fanciful make-believe his whole life, was the ultimate alien to our deal-in-real, natural, down-home, farming and mountain dweller environment here.

So say it again, quickly, Lancaster.

No time or spaces between what your head tells you are syllables. Say it again, fast, one quick word, Lancaster.

There, you said it, and we like you already. See? You fit right in, you hillbilly, you. Here’s a gun, and a Bible. Display them prominently in your home.

The Fireflies Made Me Say it: Happy Solstice

For whatever reason, summer really got ahold of me this year, like on my mind all the time, and dare I admit that I have actually been looking forward to this day, today, the Summer Solstice, all year long.

No funny Druid costumes. No somber walks among the big trees, waving incense or talking to the trees themselves. At most I might BBQ some hotdogs and crack a cold one (Yuengling, naturally).

But why is this long day so subliminally important, so that I look forward to it without really thinking about it?

I think the long summer days are when I really deeply recharge my batteries, recover the energy lost to drudgery and hard work the rest of the year. No question, long summer days really last. You can get in one more walk, one more bike ride, or do that much more lawn work. You just feel…more.

The sad thing is that after sundown tonight, the days get shorter until it starts getting dark at 4:00 PM in November.

Last night I pulled off the side of Montebello Road in Perry County, into one of Farmer Hines’ corn fields. Something caught my eye in the darkness, and when I turned off the truck and its lights, my vision was filled with a most glorious sight: Thousands of fireflies blinking all across the corn field. So many that they were beyond counting. Never before in a lifetime of watching fireflies have I seen so many.

Perhaps, they, too, are sensing the peak moment we all sense, the longest day, the greatest opportunity, and they are doing their firefly thing the most at that moment, in that narrow window of opportunity.

It was one more reason to drink deeply of these long days, to savor every moment and ray of sunshine. These times come with so much hidden magic.

Maybe a Druid outfit and an oak leaf wreath in my hair is warranted. Last night might have made a believer out of me.

 

Yay, it’s county fair season

No matter where you live, it is county fair season.

County fairs everywhere are celebrations of community, family, simple pleasures, and simple, easy fun. That fun usually includes eating really naughty, high-fat, high-carb, high sugar food you would never, ever eat any other time of the year, like funnel cakes.

Yum!

If you get the powdered sugar on your funnel cake, don’t take it on a ride until you’ve eaten it, or you will have a white powder imprint of the funnel cake on your face or shirt. Guarantee it. The small-town carnival machines populating county fairs everywhere specialize in jerky motions to entertain the riders, and those jerky motions always catch people unaware, shoving their food right back into their face or chest.

The fresh smell of farm animals there for show mingles with the smells of the fried food, and it is an acquired taste of a smell, I must say.

Last night I was at the Perry County Fair, which I have gone to for years, out near Newport.

Volunteering at the Duncannon Sportsmen booth is a lot of fun, because I get to interact with the happy public, as they good-naturedly try their hands at small games of chance for a non-profit, educational purpose (the club). Such as, when a little kid lines up the little plastic crossbow loaded with the plastic dart, getting them to shoot it at one of the club members’ hat, instead of the deer target that will win them a soft (“plush”) toy. Laughs all around, as the club members good-naturedly take the abuse. The kid gets the toy anyhow.

One thing we are missing is a dunking pool. I’ll work on that for next year, because there are several guys I just really want to see get wet, in public. And no doubt, we could raise a lot of money with a dunking pool. The Duncannon Sportsmen money goes right back into Perry County, like local 4-H, Boy Scouts troops, volunteer fire and ambulance crews, etc. As my folks would say, the money is just making the rounds, going from one hand to another to another and eventually it finds its way right back to where it started. That right there is the essence of community, ‘all in this together’.

And that is probably my biggest enjoyment of local county fairs, including the Gratz Fair in northern Dauphin County, where I live: The sense of community, the ties that bind us all together. In a time of really fractious political rancor, pushed by the establishment media more than anyone (I mean gosh, have you noticed how all the mainstream media outlets have the same exact message, which is 97% hyperventilating and aggressively negative about President Trump, all the time?), isn’t it nice to get a breath of fresh air and hang out with your fellow citizens in an environment of fun and relaxation, away from all that noise?

County fairs are like a big family picnic, where long-lost cousins show up once a year. Friendly people you wouldn’t otherwise see or interact with, but now you do, and you enjoy it, because people are neat. And at county fairs, everyone just wants to have a fun time.

I like that.

 

Weekend with the PA sportsmen

Though being involved with the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs since about 2000, maybe 1999, I have never spent an entire weekend at one of the group’s annual conventions.

Founded in the 1920s, PFSC is one of America’s oldest conservation groups. Back in 1954, the group started what is now the Great American Outdoor Show, now run by NRA.

PFSC has been at the forefront of every major environmental issue (sometimes with the greens, sometimes not), conservation initiative, and gun rights fight since the 1920s. It is a group worth giving to in any way you can, and it seems to attract the most selfless, generous, interesting people.

This past weekend was my first full PFSC convention, and I enjoyed it a lot. It was eye-opening and heart warming. My new role as Perry County Delegate gave me a whole new view.

Here are some observations:

First, the group is politically, ethnically, genderly, and religiously diverse. Not just a bunch of “white guys with guns,” the group is administratively and professionally run mostly by three kind, patient, and bossy women, with an impressive second vice president on her way up to being president in the new few years. Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Atheists, Deists, and probably a couple Druids. Republicans, Independents, Democrats, liberals, moderates, conservatives, and knuckle-draggers. Financially successful business people, blue collar workers with dirt under their nails, retired state, federal, and private industry workers. It is a rich and neat mix of very different people from across Pennsylvania, who share a few passions: Wildlife conservation, habitat conservation, passing on the outdoor heritage (hunting, trapping, fishing, hiking, camping, canoeing etc), and Second Amendment rights. But ageism reigns supreme, with not many young people showing up.

Second, the group is overwhelmingly in the “Oldster” category, with a few truly young people. There’s a lot of white hair and white beards. I am 52 and I am considered one of the “young guys.” But there are some active 20- and 30-somethings. Why lots of younger people are absent is probably attributable to these reasons: a) Like many other Americans, young sportsmen take a lot for granted, b) Like many other Americans, young sportsmen are happy to let someone else carry their weight, c) Americans are scattered all over the place with family and work obligations, and people raising young families are programmed from Friday at 4:00 until Sunday at 9:00 every weekend.

Something needs to change here, though, and young people must get involved with PFSC. There are a lot of forces out there quietly working against the interests of sportsmen, and if the guard is weakened or dropped, then the negative changes will happen fast and furious. Think your shooting range is grandfathered in, and protected from all of the new housing that suddenly surrounded it? Guess what, someone could challenge your range’s status in court for the 29th time, and finally get a lousy judge who decides to be the creator of law, not the arbiter. Only PFSC stands ready.

Third, these are the most generous, community-spirited people you will ever meet. They are devoted and happily spend their own money to protect what they love. Unlike the popular but nevertheless wrong method of demanding that everyone bend to some individual’s wishes, the sportsmen just keep giving and giving, and hoping that eventually everyone else will realize the trails, pretty birds, farms, and public lands they take for granted did not just happen because. Rather, sportsmen were there at the beginning, working hard to protect these resources for decades. Simply because they are visionary, passionate, dedicated and hard working.

Would you please lend a hand?

Buy a three-dollar raffle ticket?

Come out and work a Youth Field Day?

Join a club and pay a little money to keep the ranges looking spotless?

Join the PFSC as an individual, or simply donate five or ten bucks, to help pay for the FULL TIME lobbyist on Capitol Hill?

You don’t like lobbyists, you say. OK, who then is going to head off bad legislation aimed at destroying your Second Amendment rights, stealing your public lands, fouling the public waters, or allowing wildlife to only become roadkill?

Only the PFSC protects the interests of all Pennsylvania sportsmen. They have been doing it since the 1920s, and they are doing it today.

Join this small but spirited and accomplished crowd, be the best you can be, or just send them five bucks and help a worthy cause. It is your own cause, after all. http://www.pfsc.org/

If you want freedom, you are going to have to fight for it

Nevada senator Harry Reid changed the US Senate rules last year, which may not sound like a big deal.  But those rules had been in place for about 215 years, a significant portion of America’s existence.

The former senate rules ensured that a slim majority of senators could not win important votes by a slim majority of votes.  Important votes like confirming federal judges, whose stamp on the nation’s character lasts for decades.  Some federal judge nominees are extremists, nakedly partisan political activists who only wear the black robes for effect, not because they are truly dignified and above the political fray.  The former rules prevented those extremists from being confirmed to the bench unless a super-majority of US senators agreed.

Harry Reid’s rule changes allowed his party to ramrod through a whole freak show of kooks, anti-American anarchists, and other assorted wing nuts.  These are not people dedicated to serving American citizens; these people are at war with the America we grew up with.  They think that Communism only failed because the Soviets didn’t implement it correctly, not that Marxism is a bad idea.

Last week I sat about ten feet away from where US Senator Pat Toomey was speaking at the Perry County Republican Committee Fall Dinner (kudos to county chairman Don McClure for getting Toomey to speak to us).  Sure, Toomey said a lot of good stuff.  But then he dropped a bombshell, even worse than his ill-fated anti-gun legislation last year: If the Republicans regain the US Senate in two weeks, they will return the Senate rules back to the old set.

Toomey said that this would be done to “prove” that Republicans are “better” than Democrats.

Well, what the hell, Patrick?  The liberals are playing to win, to win everything, to win all the power, to take over the entire nation, and the Republican party establishment is engaged in a game of checkers.

In Houston we got to see what Liberals-Gone-Wild really looks like, as the new mayor there served subpoenas on many of the pastors in the city, who had dared to exercise their First Amendment rights and oppose the mayor’s policies.  In other words, the only free speech under liberals is speech that they approve of, using the full force of government coercion to achieve their goal.  In other words, we are in a fight for survival, for the basic core of American democracy.  We have to win this fight, because if people like the Houston mayor win, if people like Barack Hussein Obama win, every citizen loses.

Here’s the thing that people like US Senator Pat Toomey just do not understand, that they will never understand: A gentlemanly duel with the liberals will not succeed.

Instead, a bar room brawl is what is needed, and frankly, it is what is desired by the disaffected grass roots activists who otherwise fuel the Republican party.

If you want to hold onto your freedoms, you’d better fight like hell to hold onto them, fight at least as hard as your opponent, if not harder.  That means letting the people who changed the US Senate rules learn to live with that change under Republican administration.  The Republicans should run the US Senate for at least one year, maybe two years, under Harry Reid’s new rules.

Any Republican senator who cannot support this stance is not really committed to winning back the America that the liberals have dramatically damaged over the past six years.  Republican senators who are only committed to the meaningless game of checkers, to the effete gentlemanly duel, what are they doing there?

Step aside, Patrick.  The rest of us are rolling up our sleeves and grabbing something solid and heavy to set this situation right.  That’s right, that heavy lifting is always left to the grass roots activists, isn’t it….

Big win for Perry County, and all Pennsylvanians

Attorney Joshua Prince represented Sheriff Carl Nace extremely well, and this afternoon he achieved a dismissal of the frivolous lawsuit brought by the Perry County auditors.

Recall that their suit sought personal information of concealed carry permit holders in Perry County, contrary to two different state laws.

Judge Zanic called the lawsuit “a fishing expedition.”

Here is the URL to Prince’s statement: http://blog.princelaw.com/2014/09/08/perry-county-auditors-complaint-dismissed/

Let’s look forward to the rally for Sheriff Nace, who stood strong for the people’s liberty. And let’s look forward to making the auditors pay for the unnecessary financial costs they foisted upon the Perry County taxpayers.

Perry County Ground Zero, Round II

Perry County Ground Zero, Round II

By Josh First

Perry County, Pennsylvania, may be a deeply rural and tranquil place with just two traffic lights, but it is Ground Zero for the latest battle over your Constitutional gun rights.

The results of this battle have enormous implications for all Pennsylvanians, irrespective of where they live, because any legal holding will eventually apply not just to one county, but all counties and all citizens.

Unquestionably acting on political goals, the three county auditors recently sued the county sheriff, Carl Nace, demanding that he provide the names and addresses of concealed carry permit applicants his office processes. Nace refused, citing state law which seems crystal clear on the subject.

Much has been written here and elsewhere about this lawsuit and its genesis, so I will not re-trace those steps, but it is valuable to report back on where things stand as of yesterday.

Yesterday a hearing was held in New Bloomfield, Perry County’s seat of local government, on the auditors’ lawsuit against Nace. The hearing was intended to give both parties an opportunity to argue their case before a judge. The three county auditors are the plaintiff, and Sheriff Nace is the defendant.

I sat literally front and center in the court room, accompanied by Carl Fox and Jim Lucas, among many other wonderful citizens, activists, and concerned citizens. Carl Fox is president of the Duncannon Sportsman’s Association, and Jim Lucas is an engineer and well known political activist. Both Carl and Jim are involved in supporting Sheriff Nace and determining the background to the lawsuit. Both men believe the lawsuit has political purposes and goals, and is not some innocent procedural cause in the interest of perfect auditing everywhere.

Attorney Joshua Prince represented Nace, and attorney Craig Staudenmaier represented the three county auditors. The auditors were not present, either at the court house, nor at the hearing. Nace sat with his attorney in the court room.

Judge George Zanic sat directly in front of me with a clear line of sight between us, and I hope he wasn’t put off by my large prescription sunglasses, which I wear to keep summertime migraine headaches at bay, even inside. With my new, white, grizzled beard, wrap-around sunglasses, and unkempt end-of-summer hair, several people I already know approached me to learn who I was. One asked me if I was there for “the opposition,” and then laughed out loud when he realized who I was. That beard is coming off today! And yes, this is an indication that I am having a hard time letting go of the fantastic, if exhausting, summer I spent with my wife, kids, and friends.

Judge Zanic boiled down the entire argument to two points, one in each set of motions filed by each party. Zanic appeared most curious and skeptical about attorney Craig Staudenmaier’s assertions and claims about the need for the information, and the deficiency he says the county audit suffers from without the applicants’ names and addresses. More questions were asked of Staudenmaier than of Prince, and those questions for Staudenmaier were more pointed than those posed by the judge to Prince.

The judge was clearly having trouble understanding the plaintiff’s demand, or the need for the demand in the first place.

Citing general auditing standards, Judge Zanic referred to his own experience as a professional and as a former district attorney. Zanic disagreed with Staudenmaier about what information is necessary for any audit, let alone a county audit that was successfully completed by another firm when the auditors failed to do their own.

Prince did an excellent job in all respects, demonstrating a clear and quick knowledge of the governing statute, related laws, and the facts. Prince was articulate, clearly well prepared, and he stayed with Nace after the judge departed; both men answered questions from citizens and reporters.

Staudenmaier was often halting in his explanations, seemingly confused at times, and he argued in circles, often failing to directly answer the judge’s pointed questions. Some of his answers were rudimentary and elicited grumpy mutters from the audience. As soon as the judge left, Staudenmaier shot out of his seat, grabbed his papers, and fled out the back of the court house, through a hallway and door off limits to the audience. He took no questions from anyone in the court room, nor from anyone outside the court house.

Channels 43 and 27 were there, as was the Patriot News. Kudos to reporter Dennis Owens for pointing out that the auditors were not present at their own hearing, which is unnecessarily costing the county taxpayers a lot of money.  Their absence raises questions about just how seriously they take all this mess they have created.

Uniformed sheriffs and deputies from at least 15 counties were in attendance, in support of Sheriff Nace.

The court room was about 85% full.

“I hope to have a decision for you very soon,” said Judge Zanic.

Here is my take-away:

1) A person can draw their own conclusions about the quality or necessity of elected officials who take taxpayer money, who initiate unnecessary and expensive litigation, and who then do not show up in public or even at their own hearing. You cannot kick the hornet’s nest without getting stung, and then complain about it, but that is what these three auditors are doing. What they have said, and what their spokesman attorney Craig Staudenmaier has said, is that these three feel unhappy about the negative reactions their citizens have had over this lawsuit. Some counties do not have auditors, and it seems that the three in Perry County have proven they are either unfit or not needed. Perry County should either eliminate the office of county auditor, or vote these three out of office.

2) Perry County should do everything it can to determine who is behind the auditors’ lawsuit, including determining who paid Staudenmaier. This should be done to determine what political forces are in play (CeaseFirePA? Bloomberg? Soros? The Democratic Party of Pennsylvania? A local elected official?), and why they are present, and also let’s see if the people who started this expensive mess can then be held accountable and pay for it out of their own pockets.

3) Perry County should prepare to recover any costs or legal fees associated with this lawsuit, whether from the three auditors or from someone else who may be accountable. I think that Joshua Prince is representing Sheriff Nace for free, but no one should have to spend time defending someone from a frivolous lawsuit at their sole expense.

 

 

Ken Matthews, local reporter extraordinaire

WHP580 AM radio has long been a source of news for those hungry for accurate reporting outside of the establishment media liberal agenda.

Bob Durgin was the lovable, garrulous, crotchety, cowboy hat wearing local man-on-the-street news guy from 3:00 to 6:00 daily, and his news items shaped a good deal of local, regional, and state politics.  Because Durgin worked in the state capital region, he was listened to by a population of political activists.  So when the PA state legislature midnight pay raise happened, Durgin was on the soap box, giving vent to his frustration.  He inspired an entire movement and generation of political activists; existing activists like Gene Stilp, Russ Diamond, and Eric Epstein were bolstered by having weekly access to his show as guests, and often sitting in for Durgin when he went on vacation.

After Durgin retired, Ken Matthews was hired by RJ Harris to run the 3-6 slot.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure if Ken was going to make it during his first couple of months at the microphone.  His listeners missed Durgin’s style, and they missed Durgin’s local content.  It is a tough place to be, following three hours of Rush Limbaugh, and the natural inclination is to talk about national and international issues.  After all, these big issues best reflect the great principles and ideas that guide government, both good and bad.

So Ken’s callers were hostile towards him.  They didn’t like his style, his voice, or his views.  It was a rough transition, and it came through the radio like a sharp thumb in the eye.

But to Ken’s credit, he dove into the Central PA culture and took a crash course in our ways and our people.  There is a reason that this region is the most politically and culturally conservative area in America.  Our people here will always fight the good fight, and they want to be knowledgeable about politics.

Ken Matthews has now mastered the audience’s interests and passions, and he has really hit his stride.  Last week Ken reported on the frivolous but dangerous lawsuit against Perry County Sheriff Nace, by liberal county auditors seeking concealed carry permit holders’ information. Did the Patriot News report on it up front? No.  But, surprisingly, that liberal activist newspaper had an incredible interview with citizen activist Jim Lucas, after the fact.  So Ken is having an impact.

Ken’s reporting awakened a sleeping giant in otherwise pastoral, tranquil Perry County.  Ken is a hero.

Perry County’s tranquility is often seen as being simple and backwards by outsiders.  As a guy who grew up in very rural farm country, I can tell you that the outward tranquility masks a soul of steel and resolute commitment to American liberties.  City slickers do not understand that.  Here comes the political surprise, folks!  The hornet’s nest was knocked down with a broom handle, kicked, and then a swarm of angry hornets poured forth.  The implications for the 2016 state senate race in the 15th PA senate district are huge.  Perry County voters are now riled up.

Thank you to Ken Matthews, a friend of our Second Amendment rights, and a fantastic local reporter.  We are pleased to have you wearing Bob Durgin’s big cowboy boots.

Perry County gets an eyeful of cr@p from anti-gun schemers

In what must be a warm-up for the 2016 state senate race in Perry County (in which I hope to be the Republican nominee), gun control schemers have drummed up a ridiculous problem. The Perry County Auditors are now suing Sheriff Nace for personal gun owner records, to which they have no legal access nor any expectation of access.

It is a political stunt.  It is an effort to undermine gun owner rights and put gun owners on the defensive, in order to make easier the state senator’s re-election there.

Given that the newly incumbent and very liberal state senator there is far in the minority in Perry County, where even the Democrats are fiercely pro-Second Amendment, this is undoubtedly a politically fostered, carefully coordinated effort between the senator’s political party and anti-gun activists.

UPDATED: Tea Vs. Establishment Battle comes to Dauphin County

Aside from the epic power struggle over Lebanon County’s Republican Committee, and a smaller but equally strenuous 2010 battle in York County between 912 Patriots and entrenched Republicans, which ended in the summer of 2011 in favor of the Tea Party insurgents, Central Pennsylvania, and Dauphin County specifically, has not seen such a contest.

Until now.

Now, that open competition has fully arrived, and it may become open warfare. Oh sure, there have been some past skirmishes. The first skirmish involved former Dauphin County commissioner Lowman Henry being dumped in 2002 by the party in favor of a candidate the inner circle liked more; that planted a seed of factionalism.

Two years ago those rumblings erupted forcefully during the PA-17th Congressional District Republican Primary race, when traditionalists advocated party endorsements and the outsiders wanted an open primary, in the American spirit of “May the best person win.” That is, may the highest merit be rewarded with the highest accolades and well-earned support. No more skulduggery to edge out unwanted candidates and strong leaders by insiders whose interest is perceived by some to be retaining power and control.

In 2010, the outsiders prevailed in one way, with only one GOP Dauphin County group doing an endorsement (the Susquehanna Township GOP Committee). The other challenge came from a committee member, Alan, who unsuccessfully challenged party chairman John McNally for that chairmanship. Challenges are uncommon, and it was a second seed planted next to the Lowman Henry tree, or maybe it was fruit from that tree.

Soon after in 2010, those outsiders became identified with and then known as “Tea Party” activists. Their view was that they were merely seeking to return America’s conservative movement and Republican party to essential American traditions and principles. The way they were viewed by the established, inner-circle GOPers was with disquiet.

When the open insurrections began, no one thought they were more than disagreements between liberal and conservative Republicans.

Now, an open power struggle has erupted for the heart and soul of the Dauphin County Republican Party.

On the one hand are more conservative Republicans, feeling shunted aside and unappreciated, despite their significant sacrifices and hard work for the party. Some others had declared their interest in or intentions to run for certain seats, only to then find themselves carefully dissected from those seats in the new redistricting. Their own party did that dissecting.

Dauphin County GOP Chairman John McNally has declared his candidacy for the newly created and open state senate seat carved out of retiring senator Jeff Piccola’s district. York County businessman Steve Johnson has indicated his interest in the same senate seat. Johnson ran for lieutenant governor in 2010 among a slate of eight candidates.

UPDATE: Bill Seeds, a long time supervisor of Lower Paxton Township, is declaring his intention to run for the same senate seat, as is the York County Clerk of Courts. Each group is using the tried and useful divide-and-conquer method, as they cultivate new candidates from the opposing candidate’s county.

McNally has temporarily handed his chairmanship to Dauphin County commissioner Jeff Haste, with the expectation that McNally will re-occupy it if he loses to Johnson. However, long-time GOP activist and congressional candidate Toni Gilhooley has stated that she will seek the Dauphin County GOP chairmanship.

State representative Sue Helm is now challenged by a 26-year-old attorney, Jenna Lewis, who is endorsed by the GOP establishment, including much-liked Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico and her own father, Judge Lewis.

Susquehanna Township is a changing political landscape, where Helm, a well-known businesswoman, barely held onto her seat two years ago against Democrat activist Gene Stilp, of The Pink Pig fame.

Conservatives unhappy with Helms’ past performance now find themselves having to choose between Helm or the very young, inexperienced, and untested Lewis. Given that Lewis has the establishment wagons circling around her, the outsiders are quietly rallying to Helm.

What intrigues me is how the Tea Party began in Lebanon and Berks counties, when then-senator Arlen Spector spoke a lot of hogwash to fed-up American Joes. The Tea Party spread to Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and Massachussettes, where Republicans swarmed rickety barricades manned by corpulent, unprepared Democrats.

Now what? With the Lebanon County Republican Party firmly in the hands of the pluralistic Tea Party, will Dauphin County go the same way? And if it does, will Perry County and Centre County follow suit?

Centre County is, after all, the home turf of state senator Jake Corman, known to many as the “Silver Spoon Senator” for having casually inherited his father’s former senate seat. Corman voted for the legislative pay raise and remains one of the very few elected officials upon whom rural Pennsylvania taxpayers have not yet sought revenge.

Like Perry County, Centre County is a deeply conservative region ripe for the same frustration and political dynamic that changed Lebanon County and has now landed squarely in Dauphin County.

Corman’s presence could be the spark that lights those other Tea Party fires.

Stay tuned.