Top-level change coming in Pa.’s Republican Party

    Pa. Republican Party chairman Rob Gleason is stepping down from the post.(Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

    Pa. Republican Party chairman Rob Gleason is stepping down from the post.(Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

    Pennsylvania’s state GOP will be getting a change in leadership as longtime chairman Rob Gleason has officially announced that he’s not seeking re-election.

    Gleason said that he feels he’s leaving on a high note. In his 10 years as chairman of the state GOP, no Republican presidential candidate had won the state until Donald Trump’s victory this year.

    Gleason said he feels his strategy paid off.

    “I developed a good relationship with the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus,” he said. “So he and I, we had an infrastructure plan in place. So this wasn’t just happenstance.”

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    Gleason, who said the party is in good shape, noted that he thinks its biggest challenge now is a deep-rooted one: dismal numbers in the inner cities.

    The subject has come up frequently in the race to succeed him.

    The candidates are Chester County GOP chair Val DiGiorgio and Lawrence Tabas, current general counsel to the state GOP. DiGiorgio has received an endorsement from Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, as well as high-ranking Senate Republicans Joe Scarnati and Jake Corman.

    DiGiorgio said he wants to make the GOP less monolithic.

    “I’m the one county chair in the state that’s actually recruited, groomed, and fundraised for the only African-American member of the General Assembly,” he said. “We need to expand on that success.”

    Tabas, who didn’t respond to a request for comment, has scored a nod from Gleason.

    The party will hold its election Feb. 4.

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