UPDATED: Battle for PA GOP Chair Enters Final Lap

Digiorgio TabasA battle is brewing within the PA Republican Party for the first time since 2006. Rob Gleason is stepping aside after a decade as Chairman and two well-connected party insiders are vying to replace him. Chester County GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio and GOP General Counsel Lawrence Tabas are making calls, recruiting supporters, and promoting endorsements.

State committee members will elect one of them at their Feb. 4 meeting. In the meantime, regional groups across the state have already weighed in via straw polls and letters.

Update: the Northwest and Southwest caucuses voted Saturday morning. Final totals are below.

PA GOP Chairman’s Race Straw Poll Results

Straw poll 3


Editor’s note: The Central caucus did not hold a straw poll in the race for Chairman. Subsequently, 6 county chairmen signed a letter of endorsement for DiGiorgio and 51 committee members signed a letter endorsing Tabas. PoliticsPA initially included these numbers in the chart above to reflect the state of the race, and added this note for clarity.

The winner will set the direction of the state party for the next four years. The Chairman oversees fundraising and field strategy and represents Pennsylvania at RNC meetings along with the two national committee members.

PoliticsPA talked with both candidates about their plans if elected.

Val DiGiorgio

DiGiorgio is a partner with Stradley Ronon where he specializes in financial services. He served two terms as Chester County Controller and has served as Chester County Republican Committee Chairman since 2011.

“The main job of the State Party is to strengthen the county party organizations,” he said, including fundraising and staff support. “As a former grassroots activist, I know their challenges.”

He said his focus would be on building the Party’s grassroots network, and direct the focus of the Party on statewide judicial and row office elections.

“We have had a lot of success in Chester County running our row office candidates as a team out of our headquarters, and that approach will benefit the statewide ticket,” he said.

“I want to change the way the State Party runs its judicial and row office races. With the judicials this year, I want to build a team that will coordinate messages and fundraising through the State Party.”

“I want to build stronger relationships with legislative leaders in Harrisburg, and make sure they are a part of the team,” he continued. “They have an interest in making sure we have a Republican Supreme Court and Republican controlled row offices.”

DiGiorgio has been endorsed by Senate Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, and House Majority Leader Dave Reed.

“I have done everything that a state chair does, and have been successful at it.”

Lawrence Tabas

Tabas is a partner with Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP, specializing in health and election law. He is the PAGOP’s current General Counsel, a role he has held since 2005.

He stressed the need for party unity and off-year infrastructure.

“Especially for the judicials next year, we will win if our ticket runs as a team with a united message and a united fundraising effort,” Tabas said. “I know how to raise the money for judicial races. I have taught the only class in the state on how to raise money for judicial races.”

He said the next chairman should capitalize on the enthusiasm around the presidential race.

“We need to continue to build off the momentum we built in 2016 with Donald Trump. He brought over 300,000 new Republicans into the party last year, and we need to keep those people engaged with the party in non-presidential years,” Tabas said. “We need to go out into the communities that we have not traditionally done well and and engage those voters.”

Specifically, Tabas said he wants to improve the party’s use of technology and data, including for fundraising.

“We will completely revamp our efforts by incorporating more data into all aspects of what we do. In my professional life as a healthcare lawyer we use data constantly to determine everything, and that is what the State Party should be doing,” he said.

“I am ready to start work on day one. If I am elected on the morning of February 4th, I will be working that afternoon.”

Disclosure: The author formerly worked for the Pa. Republican Party.

53 Responses

  1. The election of the GOP State chairman is a very
    difficult and consequential decision to make.

    Both Mr. DiGiorgio & Mr. Tabas are qualified candidates.

    Seems to me, though, the most important issue in this race is which of these two men can attract superior candidates and win statewide races.

    While both have raised money for the GOP, Mr. Tabas just doesn’t have Mr.DiGiorgio’s track record of recruiting appealing candidates and winning races at the county or any other level.

    Mr. DiGiorio’s youth, enthusiasm, and experience are another plus.

    Sure hope our dedicated State Committee members keep these factors in mind when voting tomorrow.

  2. @MontcoDope: Is the Governor’s Commission on Women anything like the patronage position Wolf gave Shapiro on the Governor’s Commission on Crime and Delinquency?

  3. Val Digiorgiis wife is cochair of Wolfs Committee on Woman. I was skeptical at first of these accusations of him conspiring with Democrats (Shapiro )but the more I look the more I believe them to be valid. Therefore I think all GOP. Committee people should vote for him.

  4. While it is very possible that the straw votes shown here could change when the actual vote takes place, it seems to me that the Central Caucus will determine the next GOP Chair. It is a large caucus, and, combined with the other caucuses, can overpower the Southeast Caucus. It should be interesting to see how it all plays out.

  5. I am a committee person in the Central Caucus. Today I received a call from a Southeast committee person asking me to change my votemail to Val. I got into a lengthy discussion with them and I not only stuck with my vote for Lawrence, I think I switched theirs, but only if it’s not a voice vote. Several people in the Southeast fear Val and will only vote against him if they remain unknown. I got the impression he is not liked. Oh, btw, I also got a call last week from a Senator asking me to switch votes for Val. They are pulling out all the stops!!

  6. @ Lynne:

    Regarding your recent note [“I have volunteered with Val and have never witnessed any moral corruption as Dr S claimed”], know that I didn’t “claim” anything; rather, I transmitted info.

    I would add that Donna Ellingsen is a quality-individual and, thus, I was dismayed that he initiated efforts to strip her of her status as a committee-woman; this wasn’t as much a “moral” issue as it was an operational (and potentially ideological) concern.

    I have met neither individual and, as previously professed, I don’t have a “horse” in this race; it would, however, be desirable were Val [or one of his acolytes] to explain why Donna had been targeted.

  7. All of Val’s support comes for the Southeast.Over 50% of his votes come from the Southeast. His entire team is from teh southeast. This is the southeast controlling everything.

  8. I’m glad to see that Val hasn’t gone negative in this race. There have been a lot of personal and hateful things said of him, and to his credit I’ve never seen or heard his personally attack Tabas. It’s rare in politics to see someone stick to principle and take the high road. Win or lose he will have run the race with integrity.

  9. To: Tim C. I beg to differ. It is not “gossip and pettiness” when it is pointed out that one person is a paid, registered lobbyist.

    It is not “gossip and prettiness” when it is shown that a county organization attempted to purge the hard-working grassroots committee people who did not work in the courthouse (or have their uncle work in the courthouse) so they were controllable.

    And it is not “gossip and prettiness” when a county organization tells Politico that it will not support the candidate (Donald Trump) who the Republican voters supported in the Primary. Basic common sense: we should take people at their word. When we hear someone tell us they are going to do something, or not do something, we should never ignore what they are telling us.

  10. The issues here should not be “who is friends with whom” or “who worked for whom”. Rather, we should be asking which candidate has proven that they can organize and win elections and can they do that on the state level. Anything else is just gossip and pettiness.

  11. Whichever of these guys wins, I hope he has a backbone. I am sick and tired of weak-kneed so-called Republicans who lack the cajones to support President Trump. Enough!!! Join Trump and stand up to the jackasses and idiots opposing him.

  12. The race is over people. Tabas has enough votes and a clear path to victory. Whether Val is corrupt or not is for everyone to determine based on their own inside knowledge; however, even the perception is enough to not vote for him. I’m guessing the senators are calling all the committee people this week in a last ditch effort — not gonna matter. Lynne, you are drinking the wrong Kool-Aid. You clearly have no idea of what goes on behind the scenes. If you did, your opinion would quickly change.

  13. as a former committee person in Berks and now a resident and active supporter of the Chesco GOP I am excited by the energy that Val brings to the party. Not everyone supported Trump initially… but Trump didn’t support democrats initially. When new information came to light and the party got behind Trump so did Val and that’s the job of county chairs to get behind the state. It’s unclear to me why he receives criticism for following the lead of the National party.
    I have volunteered with Val and have never witnessed any moral corruption as Dr S claimed. I think that his excitement and youth are going to do amazing things for the party. If you disagree you should get to know him personally and decide for yourself.

  14. Just realized something, Val’s modesty must have prevented him from fully explaining his background when he sat down with PoliticsPA because it says only that he is a lawyer specializing in financial services. His firm’s website lists him as one of two lawyer contacts for lobbying. And the lobbying website for PA shows he is a registered lobbyist. A current client is a French insurance company and until less than a year ago Comcast (owner of MSNBC, etc.) was a lobbying client. Don’t be so modest.

  15. This is not from me:

    Dr. Sklaroff says:
    January 28, 2017 at 9:19 pm
    Mary: Maybe the women just were not qualified. Besides, you already have that twit Christine Donohue on PA Supreme Court. Does the GOP have to match her?

  16. Central Caucus went for Tabas. Val says they haven’t voted to give people confidence in him

    Val is a morally damaged individual. PERIOD..

    Both individuals contributed to democrats just as business dictates and just as Trump did.

    There is only one sound fact between the he said she said BS and that is that the grassroots, democrats, and independents are the ones the won PA. Those individuals are the same people that support Lawrence Tabas. If VD infects the GOP there will be no party.

    Someone in our network had a great quote: “Letting The Southeast control the State Party through Val DiGorgio is like letting California govern all of America”

    VD is an infection that you will find out about more on Monday when the financials come out. He is a scumbag and everyone that hasn’t been promised something, threatened to lose something, or is just downright a moron is supporting him.

    There is no decision here if the party wants to remain relevant in PA again, they must vote for Lawrence Tabas.

    People….Open Your Eyes…

  17. Someone please tell me how a Democrat like Tabas can Run for Head of The GOP ? After all the Money Tabas has donated to Democrats ? Has Larry Sister beaten up any more of her Maids Lately ? How can a Shark Infested family like the Tabas Royal Bank Family come anywhere near The GOP Leadership ?

  18. Chester County’s Republicans (And Val is the Commissar, right?) had a self-fulfilling prophecy that Trump would lose to Clinton. Thank goodness for those high-Democrat registration counties where people actually worked for Trump and got results.

    From Politico, just 3 weeks before the general election:

    “’It takes the undecideds and probably makes them lean Clinton, it takes the lean Clintons and puts them in the Clinton camp, and it probably makes some Republicans reevaluate and go to undecided,’ said a high-ranking Chester County GOP official of the controversy surrounding Trump’s remarks about women. ‘This is what happens when you deal with someone like this. There’s nothing additive, at this point, about that candidacy’.”

    “At the Paoli Blues Fest in early October, a popular community event in this tony suburb, the local GOP was uncharacteristically without a tent and there were no Republican activists registering voters — in contrast to their energetic Democratic counterparts.”

    “’Mitt Romney did great in Chester County, our committee worked really hard for Romney,’ said Kristen Mayock, [NOTE: Ms. Mayock currently is the Deputy Solicitor/Exec. Asst. for Admin. at Chester County, a patronage job (duh)] who served for nearly a decade as an area Republican committee chair. But this year, she continued, ‘I see less people working as hard. I don’t think there is the same motivation’.”

    “Asked whether she would be supporting Trump, she replied, ‘I’m going to refrain from answering that’.”

    *** [Mayock] made clear her focus now is on helping down-ballot Republicans. ‘I am hopeful that our intelligent voters in the county recognize that we have some incredibly qualified and dedicated candidates running down ticket’.”

    Gosh, I wonder why Trump had trouble in Chester County.



    Second, apparently these folks signed a letter offering support to Tabas, hence the notation. BUT I GUESS IT’S A BETTER STRATEGY TO BE ANGRY AND TYPE IN ALL CAPS.

  20. G,

    It sounds like you have some anger issues. Are you ok? Do you need a warm blanket and some cocoa?

    Perhaps you haven’t seen articles like the one where Wolf invited Paul Ryan to an opioid clinic or the Naughton profile article.

    Here’s a thought: maybe you can start your OWN website where you can talk about all kinds of things. Something tells me the word “sheeple” will be used a lot, but you do you.

  21. Soooooo, Gleason and co. get no credit for delivering PA for Trump, and no credit for helping to win the most competitive U.S. Senate seat in the country, and no credit for having 13 Republican congressmen, and no credit for majorities in the state senate and state house, BUT somehow eveything that goes wrong is their fault?

    You either a) are paid by Val or b) have no earthly idea what you’re talking about. I hope it’s a), so at least some good can come from your completely inaccurate comment.

  22. @ 5 min, Val claimed to be never-Trumper, initially for Rubio, then Kasich; took Trump’s name off of literature and didn’t distribute Trump signs

    @ 16 minutes, it is claimed Val ignored populist behavior.

    @ 20 minutes, carrot/stick pressure for Val alleged, particularly in courthouses [threats and offers]

    @ 22 minutes, allegation of Val helping Josh recited

    @ 23 minutes, allegation of Val not helping Trump in Chester county recited, explaining why county vote unfavorable

    @ 24 minutes, LD was working for GOP while Val was campaigning [during November]

  23. @ 20 minutes, carrot/stick pressure for Val alleged, particularly in courthouses [threats and offers]

  24. Lawrence Tabas is Gleason’s puppet. PAGOP has been a joke under Gleason! Trump won because of Trump – Gleason and Tabas has nothing to do with it. Gleason and Tabas have burned the PAGOP to the ground! Kick Gleason and Tabas out!!

  25. Val says, “with the judicials this year, I want to build a team,” yet he has worked behind the scenes to eliminate the women. The Southeast Caucus voted for five white men in the straw poll for Superior Court. The women came in last. He only supports those who make deals with him. Although, the committee people in the Southeast are somewhat to blame for not having a mind of their own. They do what they are told. This is an embarrassment to the entire system.

  26. Val will get more votes in the Northeast and Central than shown…why? Because he recently made a deal with Craig Stedman and Ray Tonkin, both committee people, who just happen to be running for Superior Court. Look at the votes in the Southeast straw poll. Jim Cawley is also involved in this corruption. You people have no idea what is going on behind the scenes of this Chairman’s race and it is impacting the judicial race…not in a good way. The Democrats are going to sweep in November. Mark this.

  27. So glad the SE Caucus is going to put my law partner over the top. I will need his help when I run for governor.

  28. Jake Corman needs Val as the Chairman so he and the other Senators can control the party. Look what they did to Judy Olson. The sheeple in the Southeast are getting played like fools. Val has more baggage than a 90 car freight train. If Val wins, the party is done.

  29. Oh and I forgot to mention Pat the invertibrate Toomey compairing his constituents to burnt down buildings. Where is the outrage from the “deplorables” who got so bent out of shape earlier this year for Hillary “insulting the electorate.”

  30. how about an article about your president lying during his recent visit to Philadelphia? How about the leaked audio of your party’s complete failure to come up with a plan to replace obamacare? Paul is it ethical to continue on in your function as communications director of the PAGOP while editing this site? The entire GOP national leadership just met in the state you claim to cover. HACK

  31. Bucks. If your for LT, you are a total moron. The State party has been wasteful and ineffective under Gleason and now the battle districts in SE PA will not get any attention. SE PA needs Val. And , if you are actually from the SE and bucks, it needs to get rid of morons like you.

  32. Tabis is Trump’s guy. That didn’t seem to do much good for Barletta and Marino.

    At least Barletta got offered something I guess.

    Trump must have figured out what a idiot Marino was.

  33. You’ve earned your paycheck Paul. And, PA GOP thanks you for posting fake straw poll results in central so it seems like Lawrence has a chance.

Comments are closed.

  • When Will PA House Agree On Rules?

    • After the Special House Elections (Feb 7) (92%)
    • End of the Month (Jan 31) (4%)
    • End of Next Week (Jan 27) (2%)
    • Early February (Feb 1-6) (2%)

    Total Voters: 152

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