Charlie Copeland will step down as GOP chair

Charlie Copeland, state GOP chairman, will not run for re-election at the party’s convention at Dover Downs Saturday. Michael Harrington Sr., a Dover real estate agent, is the only announced candidate to succeed him.

Copeland said he isn’t running because his new post as president of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a Greenville-based nonprofit that promotes conservative values on college campuses, requires frequent out-of-state travel.

“It’s a full-time job. I’m the paid president of the organization, and we’ve got a staff of about 25 folks,” Copeland said. “I do a lot of traveling. Over the last two months, I think I’ve been in town for about two complete weeks.

Copeland said he hopes the party can continue to make inroads with Delaware voters, despite the lopsided voter registration favoring Democrats. The current registration is 326,414 Democratic to 193,688 Republican.

“The last two elections – 2014 and 2016 – were pretty good elections,’’ he said, pointing to the election of Republican Ken Simpler as state treasurer and the GOP victory against former Senate Pro Tempore Patty Blevins.

“We’ve had a couple good election seasons, and, going forward, we need to continue with that successful tactic – that is to identify those seats where we think we can win on the margin and then we need to find a great candidate and help that candidate find a great team.”

Copeland said he believes the state’s worsening economy will result in GOP gains.

“Job creators are leaving. Retired people are moving in. That’s a recipe for fiscal disaster,” he said.

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