They helped Trump win Pennsylvania. Will he reward them with key posts?

David Urban, a Beaver County native and former chief of staff for Sen. Arlen Specter, is being touted as the potential chief of the Republican National Committee,

WASHINGTON - As Donald Trump stood in the spotlight at the Republican National Convention in July, David Urban handled the gritty details in the background - managing disputes, making sure the right signs got handed out for each speaker, deciding who to sit before the cameras in the VIP section.

Now, some Pennsylvania Republicans hope the Beaver County native can play a similar role on a national scale.

Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Ryan Costello, of Chester County, have backed Urban as the potential chief of the Republican National Committee, touting his credentials on Twitter.

"He's a Pennsylvania guy, he knows the commonwealth very well, I think the commonwealth is very much a microcosm of the country," with a mix of major urban, rural and suburban areas, Costello said in an interview. "He would be well-suited to take on a role that recognizes that our country is very diverse."

Guessing at key appointments during a change of administrations - and using the rumor mill to boost egos and profiles - is one of Washington's oldest parlor games. Speculation and names are flying across the country.

But with Pennsylvania turning red for the first time since 1988 - delivering Trump a prize he deeply coveted - Urban is one of several people from the state either on Trump's transition team or rumored to have a shot at a plum job.

Two of Trump's earliest Pennsylvania supporters, Reps. Tom Marino and Lou Barletta - both from a region, the northeast, that proved critical in his win - are on the president-elect's transition team executive committee. Such slots are seen by some as a potential stepping stone to an administration post.

James S. Simpson, a Wayne resident who served as transportation commissioner for New Jersey Gov. Christie, is reportedly under consideration to lead the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Two Pennsylvania Republican insiders also said the state's GOP chairman, Rob Gleason, has his eyes on an ambassadorship.

And Christine Toretti, a national GOP committeewoman from Indiana County, is also said to have a role in transition efforts on small business issues.

Until recently, New Jersey had one of the most prominent names-in-waiting. Gov. Christie was leading Trump's transition team and widely thought to have the inside track to a high-profile post in the new administration. But he - and several of his Garden State aides and allies - were abruptly purged last week.

Also from New Jersey, longtime fund-raising powerhouse Lew Eisenberg, the finance chairman for the Trump Victory Fund, is said to be under consideration for secretary of commerce, Bloomberg News reported.

Among the names being floated, Urban remains close to the president-elect's circle. He did not respond to messages seeking comment, but those who know him say it's logical that he be considered.

Often on short notice, he arranged the logistics for Trump's many campaign visits to Pennsylvania, a state that proved vital to his victory.

In doing so, one longtime friend said, Urban developed a strong rapport with Trump and the president-elect's children. He also served as an advisor during Pennsylvania's primary and played a major role at the convention in Cleveland.

On at least two instances when Trump's children visited the Keystone State, the then-candidate asked them to put Urban on the phone, said Vince Galko, a longtime Urban friend who worked on the Pennsylvania events.

"I saw and heard first-hand the trust and appreciation president-elect Trump has in David," said Galko, a political consultant from Chester County.

Neither Costello nor Toomey could say with any certainty if Urban is actually in the mix for the RNC role, and one Pennsylvania Republican insider downplayed the idea that Urban has enough of a national profile to head the party's political arm.

CNN reported Tuesday that he is under consideration.

"He's a sharp guy, he's a very experienced political operator, and I think he's got the tools to do the job," Toomey said in an interview.

Urban, a West Point graduate who served in Operation Desert Storm, was chief-of-staff for Sen. Arlen Specter, and has advised both Toomey and former Sen. Rick Santorum.

Since 2002, he has been a lobbyist with the Washington-based American Continental Group. His clients include Comcast, Raytheon, Time Warner, Drexel and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Another possible appointee, Gleason, acknowledged in an interview Friday that he has had discussions about a potential role in a Trump administration. But, he said, for now there is "nothing to report."

"Because our state performed so well, naturally people are going to think about the leader maybe to be part of the administration, but only time will tell," he said. "If I was offered something I'd be honored and certainly consider it."

Trump has pledged to "drain the swamp" of typical Washington insiders, though his team so far has featured several longtime Capitol players.

Marino and Barletta are two of the 16 people on the transition's executive committee - a group that includes three other members of Congress, three of Trump's children, his son-in-law and his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon.

During the campaign, Trump referred to Marino and Barletta as "thunder and lightning" as they warmed up Scranton area crowds for his appearances.

"If they're on that executive committee, they're certainly being considered for positions," Galko said.

Marino declined to discuss the transition team, while Barletta said no one has talked to him about any administration jobs.

He described himself as a legislative ally for Trump, someone to help him get his administration off to a quick start.

"When this is done, I'll be willing to help him while I'm here in Congress," Barletta said.

The time between Election Day and inauguration - and the hires made in that stretch - are critical, said John Burke, a University of Vermont professor who has studied presidential transitions.

From cabinet posts to White House staff, the new hires are vital to carrying out a new president's agenda. The president's team also has to decide how to quickly turn campaign promises into action, and which pledges to advance first, when the new president tends to have the most momentum.

"That's very important in terms of the administration's early agenda, very important in terms of what they do in the first 100 days, very important in terms of what they do in the first six, seven months of a presidency," Burke said, "because that's a key window of opportunity."

jtamari@phillynews.com

@JonathanTamari

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