Skip to comments.Another Barletta, Kanjorski face-off?
Posted on 10/22/2009 5:08:39 AM PDT by Born Conservative
HAZLETON Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, whose campaign committee is still $153,670 in debt from his 2008 losing effort to unseat U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, said he may challenge Kanjorski again next year.
Im considering it, said the Republican. But I havent made any decisions.
Barletta said losses to Kanjorski in 2002 and 2008 are not enough to sway him from sitting out this next election cycle. He said hes been urged by members of his party to challenge Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, yet again.
Tory Mazzola, the Northeastern U.S. spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), said, Were hopeful for a Barletta candidacy.
Mazzola and Barletta said the 11th Congressional District is ripe for a Republican victory.
Buoyed by his narrow defeat in the 2008 race Kanjorski received 52 percent of the votes to Barlettas 48 percent the mayor said he believes he lost more because of Barack Obamas name being on the top of the Democratic ballot than because of Kanjorski. Obama defeated Arizona Sen. John McCain handily to win the presidency.
Most feel that since Obama will not be on the ticket, I may have a better chance if I run this time, Barletta said. I believe thats true. Obama at the top of that ticket was enough to make the difference.
Kings College political science professor David Sosar said that Barletta is onto something.
I think without the Obama campaign, the mayor would be the congressman right now, Sosar said.
Kanjorski had 142,720 votes to Barlettas 133,365, pulling most of his strength in Lackawanna and Monroe counties, which also went heavily for Obama. Barletta carried Luzerne, Carbon and Columbia counties.
In 2002, Kanjorski defeated Barletta by garnering 56 percent of the vote.
Mazzola would not put a timeframe on when he felt a candidate would need to declare, and Barletta also declined to estimate when hed make a decision.
I would hope to have a decision by the end of the year, Barletta said.
Barlettas campaign committee had $15 on hand as of Sept. 30, according to filings with the Federal Election Committee. Kanjorski had $808,136 as of that date.
Kanjorskis campaign spokesman, Ed Mitchell, recently said that, If youre not raising money at this point and you plan on running 13 months from now, I think youve got a problem.
On Wednesday, Mitchell declined comment on Barlettas possible entry into the race.
Barletta said its not too late, but he agreed that the earlier the better to raise money.
Kanjorski has yet to officially declare that hes seeking reelection for a 14th term. If he does, hell face Lackawanna Commissioner Corey OBrien, of Moosic, in the Democratic primary in May for the right to face a Republican candidate in November.
Mazzola said the fact OBrien has decided to challenge an incumbent from his own party shows that even Democrats arent behind Kanjorski.
Hes getting fire from both sides of the aisle, Mazzola said. But, he added, regardless of Kanjorski or OBrien, a Republican would best serve the districts interests.
Replacing one left-wing liberal with another left-wing liberal is not what theyre (voters) looking for, Mazzola said.
One Republican candidate has declared for the race, Christopher Howard Paige, of Skytop, Monroe County. Like OBrien, Paiges campaign reported no funds as of Sept. 30.
OBriens foray into the ring could also boost Barletta, or whoever the Republican candidate may be, in another way, said Sosar.
It will cause him to spend huge money in the primary, meaning he wont have a million dollars to blitz his opponent with in the fall, Sosar said. Thats huge.
But Sosar said those putting their eggs into a Kanjorski vs. Barletta basket might want to hold off.
Kanjorski won that (2008) race thanks to a lot of straight-party voting in Scranton. I think OBrien will get a lot of those Scranton votes, Sosar said.
The city of my birth.Barletta is a good man.He played high
school baseball with Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Vote Lou ping