Republican Party (Mich.) State Central Committee Records

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Republican Party (Mich.) State Central Committee Records

The materials in this online repository form part of a larger Republican Party (Mich.) State Central Committee Records collection held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the materials, please consult the collection's online finding aid.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

Office files and papers of state chairpersons William F. McLaughlin, Arthur Elliott and Elly Peterson, executive director Jerry Roe, public relations director Hugh Humphrey, and Joseph Hunting, executive director of the Republican State Finance Committee. The principal series in this record group include: Annual reports/Executive Committee meetings; Chairperson's files; Staff/Departments; Topical Files; Campaign Files; Convention Files; Miscellaneous; Sound Recordings; and Photographs.

The exact date when the Republican State Central Committee was organized is not clear but it was probably very soon after the establishment of the party in 1854. In the library, there is a pamphlet published around 1856 with the citation "printed by the Michigan Republican Committee." What the responsibilities of this committee were is not certain, but the name obviously implies some degree of party organization and function such as might have been performed by the agency known in 1883, when its membership was first listed in the Michigan Manual, as the state central committee.

For the period represented by the bulk of these records (approximately from the mid-1950s to 1979), the party distinguished between the State Central Committee and State Central. The committee is the policy arm of the party which meets for two day meetings five times a year. State Central, on the other hand, is the day-to-day professional organization of the state Republican party. Functioning as a service organization, State Central acts as liaison on party affairs in the state's congressional districts, in each county, and at the city and township level. The kinds of work performed by State Central depends upon the funds available. Staff includes a state chairman, an executive director, field representatives, and clerical support.

Specific responsibilities of State Central and the state chairman include running state conventions and planning the state party's participation in the national convention; working with and providing training for Republican candidates on the state, district, and county levels; receiving communications from and with the Republican National Committee and the national administration (when a Republican is in the White House); cooperating with the governor or the state legislature on special issues (such as congressional redistricting, legislative apportionment, appointments to state boards and commissions, etc.); developing campaign material for certain statewide offices; finding and encouraging qualified people to run for Congress and for the state legislature; and otherwise acting as the voice of the Republican Party at countless conferences, seminars, rallys, and workshops.

The state Republican Party in the period represented by these records underwent a process of rejuvenation. From 1949 to 1962, Democrats were in the governor's office. The election of 1962 saw the emergence of automobile executive George Romney as a powerful vote-getter and someone who clearly had ambitions for national office. Other Republicans on the scene were his successor William Milliken and, of course, the man who became Michigan's only president Gerald R. Ford. Significant campaigns in the period of this record group include the senatorial campaigns of Elly Peterson and Lenore Romney in 1964 and 1970 respectively, George Romney and William Milliken campaigns for governor, and Gerald Ford's campaign for reelection to the presidency in 1976.

Please note:

The SCC has transferred its copyright to the regents of the University of Michigan. William McLaughlin has not made a transfer of copyright.

Access to digitized sound recordings may be limited to the reading room of the Bentley Historical Library, located on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan.

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