MARQUETTE - The Marquette County Republican Party has new leadership.
Chocolay Township resident Pete Mackin was elected as the chairman of the local party's executive board during Monday night's meeting.
"I'm humbled and surprised to be elected chair," Mackin said this morning. "And there's a lot of work that we need to do."
Mackin takes the reins from former chairman Dan Adamini, who remains on the 14-member executive board. Adamini said local Republicans may place the blame on him after an election season where the party fared poorly in Marquette County.
He said the new leadership apparently wants to focus more on national issues and less on local and state issues, and said the group thinks he has been too politically moderate in recent years.
Adamini said people often tell him he is too conservative, but "apparently, the leadership of the party now thinks I'm too far left."
Every two years, the group convenes to elect the board, half of which is made up of the party's candidates for county-level office or higher - this year there were seven automatic members.
The group elects a matching number of representatives from the general membership, and the executive board then meets to elect officers.
For the next two years, Mackin will serve with vice chairwoman Nicole Gauthier, secretary Luke Londo and treasurer Jim Goodman.
Mackin, who ran unsuccessfully for the Chocolay Township Supervisor post in November and failed in his bid for the Michigan State Senate in 2006, has often painted himself as an anti-establishment Republican. He said his new post doesn't contradict that classification, and people with similar political ideologies have been elected to head other local Republican Party groups in nearby counties.
"There's a movement to kind of re-tool our party to be more responsive to some of the newer conservatives out there," said Mackin, who added that he would like to focus on strengthening the party's relationship with local governments and preparing stronger candidates for future campaigns.
He said the local party has been moving in the right general direction under Adamini's leadership.
Adamini, who said he would be willing to serve in an adviser role for the new officers, said the party clearly wants to try something new.
"Initially, I think that people wanted to change direction," he said. "I think it is incumbent on me to step back a little bit and allow them to try. I don't want to stand in the way if this is what the local people want."
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.