Sept 22, 2018
Penn Live
Donald Trump Jr. stumps for GOP in Hershey: ‘Trump is on the ticket’

Donald Trump Jr. had one emphatic message for Pennsylvania Republicans on Friday: “Donald Trump is on the ticket in November.”

The president’s eldest son’s brief remarks before GOP officials at the Hershey Lodge is part of a larger nationwide speaking tour for the 40-year-old real estate scion. Trump Jr. has criss-crossed the country this year attending fundraising and party events as the GOP gears up for a difficult mid-term fight.

Poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight currently gives Democrats a four-in-five chance of winning control of the U.S. House and a one-in-three chance of taking the Senate.

State polls, meanwhile, have shown Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Sen. Bob Casey with double-digit leads against their respective challenges, state Sen. Scott Wagner and U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta. Trump carried Pennsylvania by 44,000 votes, or less than 1 percentage points, in 2016.

“You have to realize: it can go away tomorrow,” Trump Jr. said. “That is the other side’s plan. That is their motivation.”

He said the tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks that benefitted those in attendance — Trump Jr. did not mention tariffs or the possiblity of a trade war with China in his remarks — would be reversed if Democrats retook Congress.

But Barletta, Wagner and the slate of congressional candidates would serve as partners to help shepherd Trump’s policy goals, Trump Jr. said.

“They’re going to govern with my father, like my father, for all of you.”

Some of the biggest laugh lines of the night came as a result of Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, former Fox News TV host Kimberly Guilfoyle, who joked about her extracurricular activities, “playing doctor” with Trump Jr.

After Guilfoyle introduced her boyfriend, Trump Jr. quipped, “I was up late last night  — not because of Kimberly. Get your minds out of the gutter.”

As many as six of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional seats could flipfrom Republican to Democratic control, due in large part this year’s new court-drawn district map.

READ MORE: ‘I am not sick of winning’: Donald Trump Jr. rallies the troops in Hershey | Analysis

On Friday, former President Barack Obama was also in Pennsylvania: campaigning for the state’s Democrats in Philadelphia.

CBS News


“I have not been here since you guys won a Super Bowl, I know,” Pres. Obama says in Philadelphia. “I came here to deliver a very simple message and that is to vote. My message, Pennsylvania, is vote.” 

State GOP Chair Val DiGiorgio said that didn’t intimidate him. He claimed Friday’s event broke fundraising and attendance records for the party, although it occupied one of Hershey Lodge’s smaller ballrooms.

“Pennsylvania will continue to be Trump country,” DiGiorgio said.

August 23, 2018
Donald Trump Jr to Speak at PA GOP Fall Dinner

Dinner with Donald Jr.

Today, the Pennsylvania GOP sent out a press release promoting its upcoming Fall Dinner on September 21 in Hershey, PA, which will include guest speaker Donald Trump Jr.

“We are honored to have Donald Trump Jr. as our guest speaker!” the press release states.

“Donald Trump Jr. is a great advocate for a Republican-led agenda that has given Americans lower taxes, a booming economy, and historically low unemployment,” PAGOP Communications Director Jason Gottesman added. “We are excited to have him speak at our dinner and energize those in attendance.”

The general reception, VIP reception, and chances for photos begin at 6 PM. The dinner will start at 7 PM.

General admission per person is $150, while it’s $400 per person for a VIP ticket.

To be a “Gold Sponsor” for a table of 10 VIP reception and dinner tickets costs $10,000. A “Silver Sponsor” table that includes 4 VIP reception tickets and 6 general reception tickets costs $5,000. A “Bronze Sponsor” table that includes 4 VIP reception and dinner tickets costs $2,500.

Those interested can RSVP here.

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party did not immediately respond for comment on this event.




June 16, 2018
Mercury News
Chester County Democrats, Republicans elect leaders

Former Chester County Democratic Chairman Brian McGinnis (right) hands over gavel to newly elected Chairman Dick Bingham.
Former Chester County Democratic Chairman Brian McGinnis (right) hands over gavel to newly elected Chairman Dick Bingham. Submitted photo
Chester County GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio.
Chester County GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio.Submitted Photo

West Chester >> Members of Chester County’s two major political parties chose the candidates who will lead them into the upcoming midterm elections, choices that come as the gap between the majority and minority parties continues to close.

Members of the Chester County Democratic Committee elected a slate of candidates led by retired DuPont chemist Dick Bingham to succeed outgoing Chairman Brian McGinnis.

Bingham and his three running mates for the executive committee topped a slate of candidates led by the party’s vice chairwoman Lani Frank at the committee’s reorganization convention held at Stetson Middle School in Westtown.

Chester County Republicans returned Chairman Val DiGiorgio to the leadership position he has held since 2011. DiGiorgio, an attorney in private practice with the Malvern firm of Stradley Ronon who lives in West Whiteland, also serves as chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Committee.

DiGiorgio ran unopposed at the party’s reorganization event, held at Fugett Middle School in East Goshen.

Bingham, an East Marlborough resident who has led a regional group of Democrats in the Kennett Square area, laid out his vision for the party in his nominating speech. “Our goal is to help every one of our 228 precincts become a voter turnout powerhouse,” he said in a press release. “Electing Democrats in Chester County will be the norm, never again the exception.”

The party is coming off one of its most historically successful campaign seasons, as it elected four women to county Row Offices — a sweep — in 2017. In the 2016 presidential election, the county chose Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump by more than 25,000 votes, even as Trump was on his way to winning the state and the overall election.

Overall, the GOP’s traditional edge in party registration in the county has continued to drop since the beginning of the 21st century. In May 2017, the GOP had 151,653 registered voters and the Democrats 132,831. According to the Pennsylvania State Department, as of June 11 there were 151,121 Republicans registered in the county, compared with 135,974 Democrats, closing the gap to 15,147 voters and showing a pick up of 3,143 new voters versus the GOP’s loss of 500 voters.

Even though Trump is not on the ballot for November, Bingham said he anticipates that many of the elections or state and national office that county voters will be asked to decide may revolve around his presidency.

“He certainly is a very polarizing figure,” he said. “I think his presence will bring a lot of voters to our side.

The local Democrats are promoting a full slate of candidates for the two state Senate and nine state House of Representatives seats up for election, as well as a well-funded and motivated candidate for the newly reformed 6th Congressional District, Chrissy Houlahan of Easttown, a district that covers the entire county, plus areas of lower Berks County. Incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Senator Bob Casey are also seeking re-election.

The others elected as part of Bingham’s slate include Marsha Peltz of Malvern for vice chairwoman; Nick Allen of West Chester for secretary; and MaryAnn Piccioni of Tredyffrin for treasurer.

“I am proud to hand over my gavel to Dick,” said outgoing McGinnis, who had supported Bingham over Frank for the seat. Bingham said he expected that Frank, a longtime campaign organizer and party activist, would continue to work for the party.

“Lani and I have always worked well together,” he said. “Obviously we both wanted to win, ad worked hard to get there. But I hope Lani will continue to work with us.”

On the GOP side, in addition to returning DiGiorgio to his seat the committee members in attendance elected Steve Sansone as executive vice chairman, Barb Proto as vice chairwoman, curt Norcini as treasurer, Joe Toner as financial secretary, Robin Marcello as secretary, and Kate Collins as assistant secretary.

In his speech to the gathered committee, DiGiorgio said the committee would “work diligently to return our house delegation to Harrisburg. Our representatives have held the line against the governor’s repeated tax increase attempts. Reps. Warren Kampf (of Tredyffrin) and Becky Corbin (of East Brandywine) have been leaders in the House, and I am eager for them to be joined by our esteemed youth movement of candidates such as Rep. Eric Roe, Amber Little-Turner in the 74th and Nick Deminski in the 156th.”

“As I have often said, when this party is united, we cannot be defeated,” DiGiorgio was quoted as telling the committee.

The committee members also heard from Greg McCauley, candidate for the 6th Congressional District, who was nominated in May after incumbent U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello of West Goshen announced he would not seek re-election. McCauley, of Kennett, spoke on the need to restore fiscal responsibility to Washington, D.C., and how his experience as a tax attorney has prepared him to address issues such as the national debt and student loan funding, according to the release.    Source


 April 27, 2018
City&State PA
PA GOP chair blasts report on turmoil at state committee

PA GOP Chair Val DiGiorgio. Photo credit: Curt Schroder

In a sharply worded letter sent to members of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, PA GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio pushed back against what he called “nonsense and fake news in (a) misguided article” published in a recent City & State PA special report on finance and staffing woes inside the state committee.

In a series of numbered “talking points,” DiGiorgio took exception to numerous findings in the article, including the PA GOP’s current financial status and its condition when he took office. DiGiorgio asserts that the committee’s forthcoming campaign finance report “will show that we are on a much better financial footing than the article characterizes,” and that he took over an operation that had “less money in the bank than was needed for one month of operating expenses, no staff and $160,000 in debt.”

DiGiorgio stressed in the letter that the dramatic reduction in staffing was a “conscious decision to operate with leaner staff and to put money directly into campaigns,” noting that PA GOP funnelled roughly $350,000 into get-out-the-vote efforts for judicial candidates. He added that the committee has “a large staff in the field doing the work of volunteer recruitment” and that he expects rising numbers of volunteers throughout the election cycle.

However, DiGiorgio did not provide exact details on the party’s current or projected finances, or the number of employees or volunteers currently on staff.

Both DiGiorgio and a spokesman for the state committee declined to provide similar details or on record comments prior to the publication of the article in question.

The recent letter also obliquely references DiGiorgio’s disappointment over “the extent to which Republicans continue to fight one another – on social media, at events and in the media.” This appears to be a thinly veiled reference to the continuing battle for the Republican gubernatorial nomination between state Sen. Scott Wagner and rival Paul Mango, which has spilled across commercials, public forums and a litany of press coverage. A recent PoliticsPA article featured a letter from six state party members contesting DiGiorgio’s claim that committee members were aware of claims made by Mango about his opponant.

In that letter, the committee members “respectfully contest this statement that (DiGiorgio) made on behalf of the entire Republican Party of Pennsylvania” dismissing Mango’s claims about Wagner’s past issues “because we had no idea that State Senator Scott Wagner was involved in these disputes.”

“(DiGiorgio) may have known about the issues Mr. Mango highlights in his advertisement, but none of these issues were ever disseminated to the State Committee,” reads the letter

The PA GOP did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.  Source

April 25, 2018
PA GOP Short Staffed & Under Funded: Report

Heading into the 2018 midterm elections the Republican Party of Pennsylvania is facing fundraising and staffing issues, combined with a contentious Gubernatorial primary that is dividing some members of the Party.

According to City & State the PA GOP finished 2017 with just $15,000 in their accounts, barely enough to keep the lights on at headquarters.

During the 2017 judicial elections the party had about 15 employees, which according some was a sign of under staffing issues that have continued into this year.  A spokesman confirmed to City & State the identity of four permanent staffers, all recent hires. In the past six months, five senior level staffers either left, or gave their notice.

“I think we usually had about 20 people; in presidential years, we probably had over 200, including field staff.  One of the most effective things I was able to do was hire good staff. But you need a lot of money to do that,” former PA GOP Chairman Rob Gleason told City & State.

GOP operatives, speaking anonymously to City & State, agreed that the staff levels at state party are lower and put the blame on either financial strains of not having enough money in the bank or “some unspoken misconduct.”

The issues at the state party lead to some grumblings about the leadership of current Chairman Val DiGiorgio.  DiGiorgio took over as Chairman in a hotly contested race at the start of 2017.

In a letter to state party leadership following the City & State article, DiGiorgio took issue with the report’s accuracy.

“In the article it talks about how we were left in good financial footing at the start of our administration. This is not true. When we started we had less money in the bank then was needed for one month of operating expenses, no staff and $160,000 in debt, at which we have chipped away,” DiGiorgio wrote of one point of contention.

DiGiorgio also took issue with the idea that the lower number of staffers is truly an issue for the party, saying he “made the conscious decision to operate with leaner staff and to put money directly into campaigns. As a result, we put about $350,000 directly into the GOTV effort for the judicial candidates, a type of investment the party had not previously made in statewide campaigns.”

DiGiorgio has recently entered into the feuding between Gubernatorial candidates Paul Mango and Scott Wagner, making several statements in support of Wagner.  The state party voted to endorse Wagner in the GOP’s primary.

In a letter obtained by PoliticsPA, six state party members wrote a letter to DiGiorgio asking him to “rescind your claim” that state committee members knew about the issues Mango’s campaign brought up about Wagner.

“The fact is, Paul Mango’s claims against Scott Wagner have already been heard and rejected by the elected state committee members, who at our meeting in February, overwhelmingly endorsed Scott Wagner to be our candidate for Governor,” DiGiorgio said.

“We would respectfully contest this statement that you made on behalf of the entire Republican Party of Pennsylvania because we had no idea that State Senator Scott Wagner was involved in these disputes. You may have known about the issues Mr. Mango highlights in his advertisement, but none of these issues were ever disseminated to the State Committee as you claimed in your statement,” the party members wrote.

Letter to DiGiorgio by Paul Engelkemier on Scribd

Though those six state party members took issue with DiGiorgio and Wagner, other state party members are coming forward in support of Wagner.

“It’s been almost two and half months since we had the opportunity to select you to lead the fight against Tom Wolf this coming fall. Our Party endorsed you for many reasons, but above all else, we wanted you as our nominee because we saw that you were a proven fighter. We believed you would be able to take on whatever attacks the Democrats threw at you and overcome them,” a letter signed by 24 members of state committee reads.

“While we did not think that you would need to tap into that fighter’s mentality until the General Election, the way you have handled the inexcusable smears on your character over the past few weeks has reinforced to all of us why you were the right choice for us, both then and now.”

The state party has also not filed a finance report with the Pennsylvania covering the first quarter of 2018.  The lack of a report could simply mean the filed late with the Department of State, or that they did not spend enough money to require filing.

PoliticsPA has reached out to the PA GOP for comment.

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


April 25, 2018

Pennsylvania Republican Party Leaders,

Some of you may have seen the City and State PA article regarding the GOP State Committee. In the article, the columnist, who clearly had an ax to grind, made the argument that Republican Party fundraising has not been going well and that, as a result of staff turnover, we are in a state of disarray.


Nothing could be further from the truth.


I want to give you the following talking points to refute the nonsense and fake news set forth in that misguided article:


  1. The story in question singles out one financial report and makes its assumptions without digging further into the details. The story misrepresents the finances of this building and includes period of time in the analysis in which I was not in office and responsible for finances and expenditure decisions of the state party. We believe our recent FEC monthly filings, combined with our forthcoming state report will show that we are on a much better financial footing than the article characterizes.
  2. In the article, it talks about how we were left in good financial footing at the start of our administration. This is not true. When we started we had less money in the bank then was needed for one month of operating expenses, no staff and $160,000 in debt, at which we have chipped away.
  3. Last year we raised, in a difficult off year election, over $1.7 million. I am proud of that result. It took a lot of hard work of from all of us. So far this year, fundraising is off to a slow start, but we are planning events and putting together formal finance committees in each of the state’s regions. I’m confident we will have all the funds needed to have a successful year.
  4. Last year when I became chairman I made the conscious decision to operate with  leaner staff and to put money directly into campaigns. As a result, we put about $350,000 directly into the GOTV effort for the judicial candidates, a type of investment the party had not previously made in statewide campaigns. I believe this was a contributing part to our building to win for three statewide judicial candidates.
  5. Staff turnover is a function of people finding new jobs and that we quickly put our original team in place together last year when no staff was left. This year, as a long-term hire, I brought in Mike Stoll as executive director and he has now put in place his own team. In addition, we have a large staff in the field doing the work of volunteer recruitment and training volunteers and hitting doors and making phone calls. We expect that number to be rising continually as we enter into the summer and fall.

At the end of the day, I am pleased with what we were able to accomplish in 2017, electing three statewide judicial candidates in a very tough year. For 2018, we clearly have a lot of work ahead of us but I am confident we will raise all the funds needed to support our state-wide candidates and continue building our local parties.

One thing that disappoints me most is the extent to which Republicans continue to fight one another – on social media, at events and in the media.  That is evident in the article.  I will continue to work to unite the party and to focus my attention on democrats.

Please keep these talking points in mind when discussing these matters with whomever may ask. If you have any questions, as always, do not hesitate to contact me.



Val DiGiorgio
Republican Party of Pennsylvania


April 25, 2018
City&State PA
Ahead of crucial midterms, the PA GOP is short on staff and funding

PA GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio – from his Facebook page

Last December, the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania had just $15,000 cash on hand – millions less than the party traditionally boasts at the end of the calendar year. By all accounts, that sum was barely enough to keep the lights on at the PA GOP’s State Street office building in Harrisburg – not that there is much to illuminate these days.

A campaign and fundraising nerve center for Republicans across the state, the office boasted about 15 full-time employees during last year’s judicial elections – a number that even at the time indicated understaffing. Today, recent visitors say, the building is mostly empty, even though the critical November midterm elections are just around the corner.

“I think we usually had about 20 people; in presidential years, we probably had over 200, including field staff,” recalls former PA GOP chair Rob Gleason, who reigned over the state committee for 11 years. “One of the most effective things I was able to do was hire good staff. But you need a lot of money to do that.”

A Democratic rival put the current state of the PA GOP in stark terms.

“It is hard to maintain good staff without money,” said T.J. Rooney, a former chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. “But to only have $15,000 at the end of the year … forget about bonuses – you’re struggling to make the payroll.”

Indeed, financial records and sources familiar with committee operations indicate that the PA GOP skipped its traditional staff Christmas bonuses this year. Shortly after the holidays, most of the personnel that accompanied chairman Val DiGiorgio to Harrisburg in 2017 left in a wave of departures.

Two weeks ago, a PA GOP spokesperson confirmed the identity of just four permanent staff members, all of whom were recently hired after the exodus of senior employees. Executive director Rob Brooks, political director Tim Lagerman, deputy political director Derrick Backer, and communications director Greg Manz each departed in the last six months. A few weeks ago, finance director Laura Wagoner also gave notice.

The state committee downplayed the significance of staff turnover and apparent financial strain, although newly minted communications staffer Jason Gottesman, who took over for Manz, refused to comment directly on the subject of this article. He instead referred all questions to a recent statement that chairman Val DiGiorgio sent to all Republican state committee members.

That letter described the departure of Brooks – a close associate of DiGiorgio at the Chester County GOP who was brought on as an interim executive director – as part of a planned transition. The other staffers are all said to have “moved on to pursue great new opportunities.”

But several Republican operatives, all speaking on condition of anonymity, told a different story about the current state of PA GOP. Some speculated that deeper problems – either the party’s financial issues or some unspoken misconduct – had driven staff away en masse. Others said staff attrition and financial resources were linked to larger divisions within the party and internal unhappiness with DiGiorgio, who took over last year after an extremely tight and acrimonious contest with former party lawyer Lawrence Tabas.

Rooney said that regardless of the causes, few political operations plan for – let alone celebrate – the departure of key personnel just before crucial elections.

“People are supposed to leave in off-years. Now, we’re in the (election-year) cycle,” he said. “I’m all for people going on to greener pastures, but what’s out of place is that this didn’t happen last year.”

Dan Hayward, a former PA GOP executive director who now works as a managing partner at Novak Strategies, offered a different perspective.

“In 2003, we changed over staff significantly going into a presidential race and a hotly contested primary race. It’s maybe roughly analogous to what’s going on now,” he said. “It’s a stressful job. It doesn’t surprise me at all.”

But Hayward also described a far more robust operation 15 years ago.

“When I started as executive director in ’03, I probably had about eight or nine staffers in the building. At the end of the next year, I had a staff with a (field) component and state party personnel with close to 100 employees for the 2004 presidential race,” he said.

The finances of the state committee itself have withered compared to past years. In 2017, the PA GOP brought in $2.4 million in contributions, its lowest gross since 2005, when the party was nearly $1 million in debt. It also spent nearly its entire haul – and then some – as it burned through most of the $300,000 brought forward from the previous year.

It ended 2017 with just $75,000 cash on hand – minus $61,000 in unfulfilled vendor obligations. That sum includes a $28,000 invoice owed to Brooks’ own consulting firm.

For comparison, the party has historically brought in anywhere from $3.6 million to upwards of $10 million in recent years, including presidential runs, and has typically kept several hundred thousand dollars in reserve.

“I left the state committee in decent financial shape,” Gleason said, of his tenure. “It’s a tough job to be the state chairman. It takes a lot of money to run the state committee.”

It’s worth noting that the state committee regularly receives millions from the Republican National Committee and other national donors for congressional races. That money is earmarked via a separate federal committee, which recently reported about $118,000 in the bank.

While the state party controls these funds, that money is restricted by donor commitments and campaign finance laws.

“Only federal campaigns can use the federal money,” Gleason said. “You wouldn’t believe the paperwork. It’s a no-bullshit thing – it’s very stringent.”

The state funds are particularly key for Republicans because, unlike Democrats, GOP players across the state rely heavily on the state committee as a fundraising and support mechanism.

“With us, there are a million different repositories for us to fund the party and the campaign effort. We’re a big-tent party and we have a big financial tent,” Rooney, the former state Democratic Party leader, explained. “The Republicans’ money is typically run through the party itself from a smaller number of large donors….Their donor base is far more accustomed to writing checks to the Republican Party of Pennsylvania than ours is” accustomed to writing similar checks to the state Democratic Party.

The state committee provides a key support apparatus for campaigns across the commonwealth – Gleason said the PA GOP deploys a crucial ground game ahead of elections, paying for extra field staff, campaign supplies – even picking up the tab for costly election data and software.

“We are really charged with the conduct of statewide elections – everything from president down to judges,” he said. “I felt my job was to support the county committees, seek out good candidates and then support them as they conducted their general election campaigns.”

As repercussions from the PA GOP’s diminished stature began impacting campaigns across the state, some privately grumbled about DiGiorgio’s stewardship. A Southeastern PA Republican who threw his support behind Marco Rubio during the 2016 GOP primary campaign, the Chester County native was blasted from the outset by the party’s growing pro-Trump wing out west. Gleason, DiGiorgio’s predecessor, notably spun off his own pro-Trump PAC upon his departure – although Gleason denies seeking to take former donors with him.

More recently, DiGiorgio has waded into a bitter feud between state Sen. Scott Wagner and opponent Paul Mango, making several statements in support of Wagner, who was endorsed in a committee vote this past February. That decision invited more internal criticism, although some see a link between DiGiorgio’s actions and the committee’s shaky finances – Wagner is also a major donor, having injected some $335,000 of his own cash into Republican county committees and campaigns since January 2017.

Other factors weighing on party fundraising would be outside of any chairman’s control. Some point to the 2015 passing of John Templeton, a prolific GOP donor. Others say the rise of independent voters means fewer people are willing to donate directly to political parties.

Hayward also noted that DiGiorgio does not have a Republican governor to help boost statewide fundraising, as in some past years.

“(Former PA GOP chair) Alan Novak had Tom Ridge, who was an amazing party figure and fundraiser,” he said. “Having a powerful governor to help focus on organizational operations is huge. You look at Val with Tom Wolf … you have a different context.”

But Hayward added that he also believes there is still time to right the ship, particularly once the acrimonious primary battles subside. All past is merely prologue, he says, even with the General Election – and a much-discussed “Blue Wave” – just seven months away.

“In a contested primary, you always have a lot of black eyes…It’s how the party comes back together afterward that’s more important,” he said. “The real political work and party apparatus work is coming back together because we gotta win in November. And it ain’t going to be easy.”

DiGiorgio declined to be interviewed for this article.   Source

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