IRWIN (KDKA) — Several hundred Republican Party faithful and GOP state committee members gathered Thursday night at a banquet hall in Irwin for the annual Westmoreland County Ronald Reagan Dinner.
They were there to hear from Republican office seekers and current office holders.
State House Speaker Mike Turzai was in attendance, sounding more and more like he’s ready to soon officially kick-off his campaign for governor.
Turzai told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “We’re strongly considering it, and we really hope to formally announce sometime this summer.”
Also making an appearance at the dinner was GOP State Sen. Scott Wagner of York County. He’s already announced his candidacy for governor.
Wagner, however, was pretty much invisible to the media. Reporters wanted to talk to him about a confrontation that took place on Tuesday.
Wagner was caught on video getting into a physical confrontation with a cameraman, who could be heard saying, “Can I please have my camera back, you just assaulted me.”
The scuffle involved a campaign tracker, who was working for a liberal Super PAC. The tracker was trying to record Wagner during a private function. Wagner confiscated the man’s video camera, and took out the camera’s memory card.
The Westmoreland County Republican Party chairman downplayed the decision by Wagner to keep a low-profile at the dinner and stay out of public view.
“The campaigns, they’re just here to talk to voters tonight,” Michael Korns said. “They’re really trying to get a message to the activists who are here in the room. It’s more of a private event tonight to really hone on voters and Republican activists who are here.”
The Republican Party chairman said there will be many opportunities for media coverage in the days and weeks ahead.
But, for now, Korns said Wagner, who wants to be the next governor, would be unavailable because “the campaign puts together a candidate’s media availability.”