Media entrepreneur and Springfield school board member Frank Agovino was elected the new leader of the Delaware County Republican Party.
Thomas McGarrigle resigned from his post at a special meeting held on November 29 at the Springfield Country Club. He was in the middle of a four-year term. Agovino was elected to the term by a unanimous vote of Republican committee members.
“As Chair, I bring a fresh outside perspective and my initial focus will be on strengthening the party’s infrastructure, including better communication with our committee members and residents, as well as involving more people in the party and our local campaigns,” Agovino said.
The change comes after an election in which only one county Republican candidate – State Assemblyman Craig Williams, D-160, of Upper Chichester – was victorious. In the same election, former state representative Chris Quinn also lost the 168th district to Democratic opponent Lisa Borowski.
Agovino himself also ran against State Senator Tim Kearney, D-26, of Swarthmore in those past elections, and ran for Delaware County Council in 2021.
“When I reviewed the recent election results, it was evident that too many of our candidates were falling below our party registration,” Agovino said. “We need to better articulate what it means to be a Delaware County Republican and support candidates who share those values. Delaware County residents deserve to know where we stand
on the issues of the day because I think most of them, at the end of the day, mostly agree with our sensible approach.”
Of the 415,191 registered voters in Delaware County, 207,151 are Democrats and 150,623 are Republicans.
Agovino’s businesses, including DiFabios in Media, employ more than 60 people in Delaware County. That year he received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce and has been a member of the Springfield School Board for more than 15 years.
During his tenure on the Springfield School Board, he was involved in approving the new, state-of-the-art high school, including its design, planning, public communications and funding. Agovino also served as Executive Director in the Workforce Development Division at Delaware County Community College for 13 years.
He has served on many boards and currently serves as Treasurer of the New Avenue Foundation (NAF), an organization that provides assistance to people with disabilities, including job placement. He has also served on the boards of the Delaware County Intermediate Unit, the Delaware County Technical Education Board, the Eastern Delaware County YMCA, the Manufacturers Alliance of Delaware and Chester Counties, and the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.
A graduate of West Catholic High School for Boys, Agovino received his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Saint Joseph’s University and his Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Cabrini University. He lives in Springfield with his wife Laura, who is also a small business owner, and their daughter Alexa.
Agovino said McGarrigle now has grandchildren and continues to operate his Springfield business and has decided to focus more on that, specifically the responsibilities that come with being party leader.
The new leader said it was time for the county party to change.
“I think we can all agree that we’ve come to a point where we need to do things differently, let’s call it a revamp or a rebrand,” he said. “I don’t think people really want to give up, that’s how I felt. I didn’t want to give up.”
He said he’s assembling a leadership team to be more inclusive and plans to roll out mail-in voting.
“I want to put the party on a better footing, and that means having a 49-community strategy that actively invites more people from across the county into the process,” he said. “I think that’s a recipe for success. I also intend to set up a mail-in voting committee and appoint a team ready to do the practical work needed to improve our performance among voters who now prefer to vote early and remotely. “
He noted that Democrats vote for 30 days while Republicans vote for 12 hours.
“It’s here to stay,” he said of the postal vote. “We have to deal with that better.”
He said coupled with in-person votes, GOP candidates only need to get about 30 percent of the mail-in votes to run winning campaigns.
One reason he said it was necessary was because the county Republican Party was acting in a monitoring capacity.
“I don’t think the current partisan makeup of the Delaware County Council, which is made up of five Democrats and no Republicans, accurately reflects where Delaware County residents stand in terms of actual issues,” Agovino said. “We need to do a better job of serving as a watchdog and holding the current leadership to account. Residents need to understand that the decisions made by our county’s democratic leadership will have lasting, adverse consequences. However, it is also our duty to effectively articulate an alternative vision and present voters with a blueprint for the future that they can enthusiastically support.”
He spoke about areas where Democrats have been successful and opportunities for the GOP.
“I think the Democrats did a good job in portraying the Republicans as being out of touch,” Agovino said. “I don’t think any of that is true… They’ve done a good job of connecting us to national figures — (Donald) Trump and (State Sen. Doug) Mastriano didn’t help… We’re still the party of common sense .”
He addressed core issues of his party, such as quality education and financial responsibility, and stressed the need to communicate this to voters.
“We have so many new people moving to Delaware County all the time,” Agovino said. “We have to pick them up where they are. Our first challenge is to talk to all of the different Republican groups that have sprung up over the past five years. Everyone has a different idea… We agree on 85 percent (of things). We have to focus on what brings us together.”
Agovino said local candidates must be willing to tackle national issues, including those beyond their control, Agovino said.
“It will not only be about local issues, it will also be about the big issues of the time,” he said, adding, “We lost elections that we thought we could win. We just need to get in touch with people better.”
It is almost like constant election campaigns in the 49 municipalities, which is why they need a team and more diverse tickets.
“We need to understand the times better,” Agovino said. “1989 is over.”
The Delaware County Republican Party invites those interested in getting involved to contact the Delaware County GOP headquarters at 610-566-9375 or [email protected]