The state’s Republican Party elected a new leader Saturday. Former Assistant House Minority Leader Joel Stetkis beat out current chair Demi Kouzounas, winning the favor of 57 out of 83 members of the Republican state committee.

Rep. Joel Stetkis, R-Canaan, will be the Maine GOP’s new party chair.

Stetkis lives in Canaan and served in the Maine House representing District 105 from 2014 to 2022.

“I’m honored and humbled to receive such strong support from the members of the state committee,” Stetkis said in a Maine GOP news release.

The ousting of Kouzounas, who has served as chair since 2017, follows a poor 2022 election for the party. It lost multiple seats in the state Legislature as the state Democratic Party remained strong in coastal communities and flipped inland seats.

Stetkis will lead the state’s Republican Party in the next election cycle.

“This is a new day for Maine Republicans,” Stetkis said. “Electing waves of Republicans at the local level and growing our party with an eye to the future begins now.”

Stetkis has a conservative record. As a legislator he opposed increases in the minimum wage and mask and vaccine mandates.

In addition to focusing on elections, he said the party should work to stop “Janet Mills’ progressive agenda” and move Maine to a place of “commonsense conservative policy.”

An earlier version of this story misstated the towns Stetkis represented in the Maine House.

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