The Pennsylvania Republican Party said on Friday that the two candidates have come to a power-sharing agreement, putting an end to a contentious internal struggle for its next chairman and the risk that the Donald Trump campaign’s preferred candidate might lose.
By the agreement, Bernadette “Bernie” Comfort, a supporter of Trump’s campaign, would continue to serve as vice chairwoman and take the helm of Trump’s Pennsylvania 2020 effort. The new state party leader will be Lawrence Tabas, an attorney and former general counsel for the state party.
The resignation of Val DiGiorgio, who left his position amid claims of sexual harassment, led to the election.
Before the scheduled election on Saturday, Tabas and Comfort were embroiled in a contest that was predicted to be tight. The president and his campaign advisers, some of whom actively supported Comfort to the chagrin of pro-Tabas state Republicans, would have been embarrassed by Comfort’s defeat.
Given the significance of the state to Trump’s chances of winning a second term, the situation in Pennsylvania was constantly monitored. His campaign was determined to stay as far away from anything that would harm his chances in the competitive state as possible.
Both Tabas and Comfort’s supporters hailed the agreement as a turning point for the state party, which had recently been split along racial, ideological, and personality lines.
Charlie Gerow, a Pennsylvania-based Republican consultant and member of the pro-Tabas state committee, claimed that the resolution served the party’s and the 2020 campaign’s best interests and would help President Trump win the following election.
“There was significant support on both sides for both candidates,” said David Urban, a 2016 Trump campaign strategist who endorsed Comfort. “The new team allows the Pennsylvania Republican Party to join back together and become stronger and focus on reelecting the president in 2020.”
“It’s a huge triumph for Lawrence Tabas, and a well-earned one,” the insider continued.
We have a GREAT TEAM in Pennsylvania! Trump tweeted about the announcement on Friday. I’m happy to announce that our close friends Bernadette “Bernie” Comfort and Lawrence Tabas will now collaborate to lead the @PAGOP. Bernie will chair my Pennsylvania campaign, and Lawrence will serve as chairman. In Pennsylvania, we need and practice great UNITY. ”
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