PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — About 2 1/2 weeks after the former Pennsylvania Republican Party chairman resigned after getting caught up in an alleged sexting scandal, Pennsylvania’s GOP leaders are meeting in Hershey this weekend to vote for a new chair-person.
Typically, the Pennsylvania GOP picks a chair and vice-chair in the downtime right after a presidential election. But after Val DiGiorgio abruptly resigned late last month amid reports of an illicit text messaging exchange with a woman who was running for Philadelphia City Council, the party called a special election.
“This wasn’t something that was expected, and so the candidates popped up very quickly and the campaign was very time-compressed,” said Republican strategist Charlie Gerow.
Acting chair Bernadette “Bernie” Comfort is facing the state party’s longtime legal counsel Lawrence Tabas, who lost to DiGiorgio in 2017 by two votes.
The race has the attention of the Trump campaign. Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted his support for Comfort.
Gerow says that shows how important Pennsylvania will be in next year’s presidential election. But, he adds, he doesn’t think the Trump campaign should be weighing in for either candidate.
“Because there’s no winning scenario for the Trump campaign. If they ‘win,’ they have a lot of bruised feeling they’re going to have to deal with. If they lose they have egg on their on their face. So neither one is a particularly helpful situation for the campaign,” Gerow said.
Adding to the intrigue, a lot of people say it isn’t so much the candidates firing up their supporters, but rather who’s backing them.
Comfort has the support of national committeeman Bob Asher while Lawrence Tabas is backed by former Pennsylvania GOP chair Rob Gleason.