Skip to comments.Barletta, Kanjorski showdown expected to be close
Posted on 10/28/2008 7:05:48 AM PDT by Born Conservative
U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski is fighting for his political life in his re-election campaign against Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta.
Kanjorski, a Nanticoke Democrat, has been spending much of his more than $2.1 million war chest on political advertising. Barletta raised nearly $1 million.
Kanjorski has tried to link Barletta to President Bush and the current Republican machine. Barletta has fought back, going after Kanjorski on issues such as his involvement with Cornerstone Technologies, the bankrupt research company that received more than $9 million in federal grants and contracts. The company was operated by Kanjorskis daughter and four of his nephews.
The main question is whether voters want to send Kanjorski, a Nanticoke lawyer, to Washington for a 13th term or opt for a Republican. Barletta has become popular over his tough stance on illegal immigration.
Most political analysts have tagged the race a toss-up, while others say Barletta is the clear leader and still others say the incumbent will retain his seat.
Kanjorski, 71, and Barletta, 52, have battled before in 2002 when Kanjorski defeated Barletta by 22,000 votes. In the April 2008 primary, Kanjorski was unopposed and garnered nearly 91,000 Democratic votes. Barletta, also unopposed, received more than 27,000 Republican tallies.
Kanjorski said his seniority and financial expertise are critical reasons why he should return to Washington. He is the second highest-ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee and chairman of its Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises subcommittee.
Kanjorski argues that Barletta would be a freshman congressman of the minority party in Congress and because Kanjorski believes Barack Obama will defeat John McCain for the presidency he will have no ally in the White House.
If I call the White House, no matter who will be president, I will have access, Kanjorski said. If Im not re-elected, this area will have to wait 24 years to get that kind of seniority.
Kanjorski says he has brought more economic development money to the district than it has ever seen.
Ive asked my constituents who they would want in Congress if another Agnes disaster (1972 flood) occurred and they overwhelmingly said they would want me, Kanjorski said.
Social Security has been a hot topic with both candidates opposing privatization. Kanjorski said the system must be preserved and Barletta said the funds should never have been raided and should be secured in a lock box.
Barletta said the feedback he is receiving on the campaign trail has given him confidence.
People want change, Barletta said. They feel my opponent represents everything that is wrong with Washington. They want a new leader who isnt afraid to stand up for them and for what he believes in.
Kanjorski accuses Barletta of managing to attach illegal immigration to every issue facing America.
Illegal immigration exacerbates hatred, Kanjorski said. But my opponent wants you to believe that everything of dissatisfaction in your life is a result of illegal immigration. Nobody likes a creep who takes advantage of bad things, and thats what illegal immigration is.
Barletta said an influx of illegal immigrants to Hazleton has affected the city budget because of the strain on public services such as police, fire and emergency services. He said Hazletons population has increased by 50 percent, but the citys per capita tax has not risen.
These people are here illegally and they are in our schools, our hospitals and they are demanding more services from the city, Barletta said.
Kanjorski and Barletta oppose amnesty for people living in this country illegally. Kanjorski favors enforcing existing laws and securing the borders.
Barletta said more immigration-control agents are needed at the borders, airports and seaports and said there has to be a crackdown on fraudulent document rings.
On energy, Kanjorski supports oil and gas exploration, including the Marcellus shale, and believes the nations natural gas reserve can provide economic opportunity for Pennsylvania. He supports offshore drilling for oil and gas exploration. He would expand nuclear power and is in favor of a third reactor at the PPL plant in Salem Township.
Barletta favors offshore drilling and alternative sources and said clean-coal technology could result in the creation of many jobs in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Barletta wants to provide care for people in the military and for veterans. He sees no reason for a draft and would advocate freezing congressional pay raises for 10 years to help pay for veterans benefits.
Kanjorski said its time for Iraqis to take care of Iraq. Its time to withdraw responsibly from Iraq, he said.
On health care, Kanjorski favors a system that would disconnect health-care coverage from employment. He encourages healthier lifestyles he said would reduce the cost of health-care delivery.
Barletta is against government-run universal health care. He would support tax credits to people who buy health insurance.
These are the words of a desperate politician.
It would be great if another Dem goes down in PA. I thought this year was going to be a Democrat sweep? Seems to me that there are more and more Dem races becoming competitive.
BUMP for Lou!
PA could have some big upsets in favor of the republicans beating very liberal democrats.
Murphy in Bucks County, Murtha in Western PA and this race...
You really think Murphy has a chance of going down?
He won by less than 1% in 2006. He has turned out to be a liberal lap dog of the democrats. He voted for the bail out. His opponent is a 30 year Marine Colonel...
This is the closest you will see the MSM come to saying that their favored Democrat is going down.
There are another 15 or so legitimate pick-up opportunities nationwide. FL-16 is already gift wrapped for Tom Rooney, and TX-22 is looking very good, especially after seeing the early margins out of Texas. The bad news is the GOP is defending a lot of open seats due to retirements.
I wouldn't really call them upsets. However, I think the Democrats are going to be very upset on Nov. 5th, especially when discussing Pennsylvania.
Thanks for the ping and the link. Interesting thread on PA politics.