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Republican Party chairman steps down amid sexual harassment allegations

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Controversy and uncertainty Wednesday in the Republican Party in Pennsylvania. This after the chairman of the party resigned amid allegations he sexually harassed a woman.

Val Digiogio abruptly stepped down Tuesday after a published report that he sent graphic text messages to Rina Goldstein, a former candidate for Philadelphia City Council. Digiorgia denies the allegations and says he will defend himself.

The accusation comes as Pennsylvania is viewed as a major battleground in the 2020 presidential race after playing a big role in helping Trump win the White House. So, can this scandal play a role in the presidential race?

Political observers say it will play a role in the race but it should not be a death blow as long as the party unites, comes together.

“Obviously the party is bigger than any one person,” former Congressman Lou Barletta said.

Former Congressman and Trump supporter Lou Barletta from Hazleton says the Val Digiorgio resignation is not a good thing for the GOP but it should not slow down the party apparatus in Pennsylvania.

“This party cannot be divided it has to stay united. It has to come together. We have the election. The presidential election is next year. There is a number of State Representatives and Senators,” Barletta said.

Barletta was one of the first Republican lawmakers in the nation to endorse Trump in 2016, appearing at numerous campaign stops. His name has now been bantered about as a possible candidate for chairman of the party to replace Digorgio.

“I had supporters call me up asking me to consider it. I am not campaigning for chair of the party. We have many very qualified people who are campaigning who will make great chairs,” Barletta said.

But he admits he would go for it if he gets a call from the White House.

“If it was something the President had asked I’m going to do it, what I can to help his party, help him get re-elected on the field, off the field or in the bleachers,” Barletta said.

Political science professor Dr. Dave Sosar says the Pennsylvania GOP must get its act in order sooner than later.

“You can’t lose time now. You’ve got to have everything in place. You got to get started. I know we are a year and a half out but you really got to get things moving,” Dr. Sosar said.

Eyewitness News spoke to local Democratic Party leaders and they say they believe the GOP will rebound from this controversy and add that the Democratic Party is more unified than ever before to turn Pennsylvania blue in 2020.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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