District Leader knocking on door
What are District Leaders?

“District Leaders”(the official title is “Westchester County Committeemen/women”) is an unpaid volunteer who are members of the Republican Party who are elected (a two year term)or appointed to this internal party office. Two District Leaders are assigned to each Electoral District—often, but not always, the district in which they live (Note; a district leader must live in the same assembly district as the one they represent). Together, the District Leaders from the two hundred thirty-nine Electoral Districts of the City of Yonkers (which are divided along 12 geographic areas called wards) make up the Yonkers Republican City Committee. All District Leaders are also automatically members of the Yonkers Republican Committee.

How Are District Leaders Selected?

A District Leader must stand for re-election every two years. Each time, a District Leader candidate must file a nominating petition containing sufficient, valid signatures of registered Republicans living in the district in which that candidate hopes to serve. The petition will place the candidate on the ballot. (One advantage of being a registered member of a political party is that you can vote in primaries and sign party petitions, which means that you select the candidates who represent the party in general elections.) Any registered Republican can challenge a District Leader by also collecting sufficient valid signatures on a petition in the relevant District. If more than two people file enough signatures within the same District, a primary for the District Leader position will be held in June, during the same period as all other local primary elections in New York State.

If a District Leader resigns or is removed from office during their term, replacement is governed by local Committee rules, not state law. The government will not spend resources on a special election for an internal Party position. Nor will most political parties. Usually, as under the By-Laws of the Yonkers Republican Committee, the Ward Leader appoints a replacement, based on recommendations from a Committee on Vacancies. Anyone appointed outside the regular election cycle will be up for election and face a possible primary in the next year that District Leaders are elected—just like all the other District Leaders.

What Are District Leaders Supposed to Do?

District Leaders have four main functions.

1. In Yonkers district leaders are asked to get signatures, in their district, on petitions for our local, county and state Republican candidates. All candidates are required to acquire a certain number signatures (dependent on the office they are seeking to get elected for) to qualify to run for that office and get on the ballot.

2. The largest part of the job is “getting out the vote.” Before every party primary, general election, or referendum, using publicly available voting records, District Leaders engage in various activities to reach the voters in our districts. We bring literature door to door, make telephone calls, send out mailings and emails, put up posters and signs.

3. Perhaps the most important aspect of our work is interviewing and nominating candidates for local city office. Starting in November, the Yonkers Republican Committee advertises for and interviews potential candidates. We try to recruit people who have been active in community affairs, even if not in the Republican Party.

4. District Leaders are expected to participate to some degree in internal “party politics” such as, elect their Ward Leaders, attend meetings of the Yonkers Republican Committee. Elect the chair of the Yonkers Republican City Committee and vote for the chair of the Westchester Republican County Chair. They vote at the conventions held by the Yonkers Republican City Committee, as well as on certain decisions made at the County Convention, for example, selecting candidates for County judgeships and delegates to the State Republican Convention.

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