Ridge and Dent join call for change within GOP

Former Governor Tom Ridge in 2008.

Former Governor Tom Ridge in 2008. Steve Broer/Shutterstock

Former Gov. Tom Ridge and former U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent have joined more than 100 GOP officials calling for change within the party. 

Ridge and Dent cosigned a letter, the “Call for American Renewal,” that states it is the “patriotic duty of citizens to act collectively in defense of liberty and justice,” and warns that the Republican party needs to realign with its founding ideals or else it will “hasten the creation of such an alternative.”

The letter, released last week, cites the ousting of Rep. Liz Cheney from party leadership after she voted to impeach Donald Trump following the January 6th Capitol riots. She was firm in standing against House Republicans and their desire to continue casting doubt on the 2020 election results. Ridge and Dent, Republicans who have remained vocal about their moderate beliefs while out of office, announced that they were voting for Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential election. 

A statement from Ridge said that despite his criticism of the party, he is focused on finding solutions within it and not creating a new one. 

"While you can count me among the chorus of the disappointed, and although I understand the motivations behind the letter, I'm simply not going to abandon the party of Lincoln,” Ridge said. “My strong hope is that we can work together to restore the Republican Party's commitment to key conservative principles such as limited government, the rule of law and fiscal restraint. The GOP has been a huge part of my life. I'm proud of what the party has contributed to our nation, and I'm not interested in leaving."

Ridge and Dent are among former members of Congress, governors, ambassadors, Cabinet secretaries, state legislators and Republican Party chairs on the list of signatories. The group outlines 13 principles on its website, including democracy, constitutional order, rule of law, pluralism, and civic responsibility. 

Dent could not be reached for comment. 

The effort says it’s a “rallying cry for pragmatists everywhere” and that the nation’s future “should not be dictated by a single person but by principles that bind us together.” It comes at a time when Republicans - at the federal and state levels - are wrestling with inter-party politics centered-around the claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. 

The website also said to keep an eye out for details on an “upcoming nationwide town hall on renewing America.” As more Republican-led legislatures look to implement restrictive voting laws, some members of the party may look to distance themselves from the “Big Lie” and the party’s responses to it. Whether or not efforts to form factions within the party will gain popularity remains to be seen.