Karl Rove, a senior adviser to former President George W. Bush, will speak Feb. 24 at the Franklin County (Pa.) Republican Committee's Lincoln Day Dinner, the committee chairman announced Tuesday.
"This is a biggie for us," chairman Dwight Weidman said.
Weidman said he reached out to the Republican Party of Pennsylvania for assistance in finding a speaker for the annual dinner and fundraiser. Rove's name appeared on a list of potential presenters.
"I said, 'Karl would be great. We'd love to have The Architect,'" Weidman said with a laugh, saying he didn't believe it'd happen.
Bush called Rove "The Architect" after winning re-election to a second presidential term.
Mike Barley, executive director of the state committee, said people would be surprised to know Rove is familiar with Franklin County.
"From running presidential elections, he knows a lot of counties from different states," Barley said.
The Lincoln Day Dinner will be held at Green Grove Gardens, which Weidman said can accommodate nearly 600 people. Each $60 ticket will entitle attendees to dinner and a copy of Rove's book "Courage and Consequence."
Weidman said he plans to work with Rove's staff and local emergency responders to accommodate any security needs. Although he said organizers are "not tremendously concerned about security," he feels it is something to be considered, especially in light of the January shooting in Tucson, Ariz.
"Obviously, you might have some demonstrators because someone like Karl drives the liberals nuts," Weidman said of other anticipated issues.
In the past, businesses have advertised in the program and sponsored tables for the Lincoln Day Dinner.
"That helps us pay for things and put money in the coffers," Weidman said.
Weidman said dinner organizers will continue the tradition of recognizing elected officials and Republicans running for office. He said the county's candidates can learn from Rove's work in presidential campaigns.
"There's something to be said for it," Weidman said. "It all starts at the grassroots level."
Barley said Rove's presence will serve in part as a "thank-you" to the Republicans of Franklin County.
"It'll be great for the Franklin County GOP and well-deserved because they did so much in the election last year," he said.
If you go ...
What: Franklin County (Pa.) Republican Committee's Lincoln Day Dinner
Where: Green Grove Gardens off Pa. 16 east of Greencastle, Pa.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24
For tickets or more information, call 717-263-7999.