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New Pa. Republican Chair Sees No Damage Yet From Trump

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Just elected chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, Val DiGiorgio is the party's newest face.

"What does a party chairman in Pennsylvania do?" KDKA political editor Jon Delano asked DiGiorgio on Wednesday.

"I'm still trying to figure that out myself. It's only been five weeks," said the 49-year-old GOP chair.

But DiGiorgio, who was Chester County Controller and county chair, knows the answer.

"You're charged with building a party."

That means everything from raising money and supporting GOP candidates to getting more people to register and vote Republican.

DiGiorgio says the state of the Republican Party is great, citing last November's election.

"A veto-proof majority in the state Senate of 34 senators; 121 state reps, the largest since 1951; we control a majority of Pennsylvania counties; and of course we just reelected our senator, Pat Toomey; we carried for Donald Trump."

But with polls suggesting President Trump has record low approval, could that hurt Republicans this year or next?

"Right now, I haven't seen any effects on the party itself. He's done some things very well," says DiGiorgio.

But the chairman concedes, the President "tends to get off message, but I think he does that intentionally. I think he's a lot smarter than folks give him credit for."

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But the repeal of the Affordable Care Act may prove risky with Gov. Tom Wolf warning a vote for the House GOP plan will toss Pennsylvanians off health insurance, raise costs for seniors, and cost the state millions of dollars.

DiGiorgio disputes that.

"It's Chicken Little. It's electioneering scare tactics. I feel if we pass this bill in its current form it will lower health care costs, it will lower insurance premiums, and that will provide more access to people, not the other way around."

In essence, DiGiorgio is saying that local Republican congressmen like Tim Murphy, Mike Kelly, and Keith Rothfus can vote for the Republican repeal bill because it won't hurt local residents.

But nobody knows for sure what will happen under, what Democrats call, Trumpcare.

If it does hurt voters, that could come back to haunt Republicans running for reelection next year.

It's why being party chairman can be a roller coaster ride for anyone.

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