Vito Canuso, the embattled former chairman of the city’s enfeebled Republican Party, is apparently particular about his luncheon companions. Two Republican ward leaders who’ve been critical of Canuso’s leadership showed up Monday for the party’s traditional pre-election lunch, at the United Republican Club in Port Richmond. And Canuso asked them to leave, saying they weren’t welcome.
Joe DeFelice, who’s been recruiting Republican committeemen and other party workers on behalf of the Republican State Committee, reportedly told Canuso he didn’t want his lunch, picked up his papers and left the scene. Matt Wolfe, the longtime GOP ward leader in University City, went hungry but stayed on for a brief meeting where Canuso introduced several of the party’s candidates, including mayoral hopeful Karen Brown.
Wolfe was the attorney who filed a petition with Republican State Committee last year, challenging Canuso’s election as party chairman on grounds that numerous elected ward leaders were not permitted to vote. A credentials panel at State Committee agreed with Wolfe, voiding the election. Canuso has contended that the State Committee’s authority extends only to participation at State Committee meetings.
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