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What PA Republicans Lack In Messaging They Make Up For With The Presidency, State Party Chair Says

Courtesy of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania
Val DiGiorgio, chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, says he's confident in President Trump's reelection bid despite the momentum democrats are feeling after a bout of midterm victories.

After the 2018 midterm election, the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation made a big shift from 13 Republicans and five Democrats to an even split of 9-9, but Pennsylvania Republican Party chair Val DiGiorgio says he’s not worried about the 2020 presidential race.

"If (democrats) could get a moderate–and I don’t think they could get one through a democratic primary–that’ll make it a little trickier," he says. "But no matter who wins, we feel good about the President’s record.”

Bruised by the midterms, DiGiorgio says the party is re-working its platforms on education and the environment in more competitive districts, and that overall, members should present a stronger message on the party's health care priorities. Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by about 45,000 votes, carrying 56 of 67 counties—not including Allegheny.

DiGiorgio joins The Confluence to talk about how 2016 victories might be repeated in 2020. 

Credit Courtesy of Charlotte Hacker
Chinese Academy of Foresting
Charlotte Hacker, above, is a PhD student at Duquesne University. She's leaving soon to study the behavior and habitat of vulnerable snow leopard populations -- pictured on a field camera below -- in China's Qinghai province.

Later in the program:

Hundreds of gun rights supporters converged at the state Capitol Monday for the annual Second Amendment rally to argue in favor of gun rights. Pennsylvania’s gun laws haven’t changed significantly in more than a decade, but 90.5 WESA’s Katie Meyer reports that speakers, demonstrators and lawmakers at the assembly say they’re worried such efforts are picking up steam in the state legislature.  

Last week, the White House and democrats agreed on a $2 trillion deal to invest in infrastructure, but the two have different ideas on how to pay for it. Congressman Peter DeFazio, chair of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, joined state and local leaders yesterday to call for a federal infrastructure bill. 90.5 WESA’s Margaret J. Krauss reports on how the investment might look in western Pennsylvania.

Snow leopards are vulnerable to shifting prey-bases, especially those leopards outside of Africa. The large, graceful cats–and their gray and white fur and dark spots–allow them to blend in with their wintry environments and live in a wide range of environments, from Africa to India and China. Charlotte Hacker, a PhD student at Duquesne University, has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study an at-risk population of snow leopards in their natural habitat in Quinghai Province, China. She joins The Confluence to discuss her upcoming trip.

And four years ago, Gov. Tom Wolf declared a moratorium on executions in the state on Pennsylvania. Now a bipartisan effort in the state House seeks to permanently eliminate the death penalty. If the bill passes, Pennsylvania would join the growing list of states that have banned capital punishment. University of Pittsburgh law professor and WESA legal analyst David Harris is on hand to explain.

90.5 WESA's Julia Zenkevich contributed to this program. 

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kiley Koscinski is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She previously produced The Confluence and Morning Edition. Before coming to WESA, she worked as an assignment desk editor and producer at 1020 AM KDKA. She can be reached at
Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago.
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