Skip to comments.Now delegation's dean, Kanjorski cites power
Posted on 02/20/2010 8:21:57 PM PST by Born Conservative
He had a tough race in 2008 against Republican Lou Barletta in a political climate that favored Democrats.
This year, U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski is seeking a 14th term in what's shaping up as a Republican year.
Mr. Kanjorski faces a significant Democratic primary challenger in Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien. If he wins, a third challenge by Mr. Barletta again or a first by hedge fund manager Chris Paige looms in the fall.
"I'd be cocky beyond imagination (to predict victory) ... but I don't know if I'm going to survive," Mr. Kanjorski said during an editorial board meeting with The Times-Tribune this week.
But the congressman, who turns 73 in April, was feeling confident as he touted his higher profile and the clout that he said voters should consider when they make up their minds.
"I'm at the top of my game," he said.
His chairmanship of a key House Financial Services Committee subcommittee put him in position to write half of the House-passed Wall Street reform bill and the "too big to fail" legislation designed to keep financial companies small enough to prevent national economic damage if they fail.
"It's taken 25 years to get to the seniority position I have and the power position I have," he said. "Nobody who replaces me will get there in one, two or three terms."
With the region and state losing senior figures in Congress and the state Senate this year, he is the most senior local legislator. With Rep. John Murtha's death Feb. 8, Mr. Kanjorski, first elected in 1984, is the most senior member of the state's House delegation. Only Sen. Arlen Specter has more seniority overall.
Mr. Kanjorski said the replacements for the retiring state Senate Democratic Leader Robert J. Mellow, D-22, Peckville, and Sen. Raphael Musto, D-14, Pittston Twp., could be new Democratic faces in a state Senate dominated by Republicans.
He especially lamented the loss of Mr. Murtha, known for steering big defense contracts to Pennsylvania, and predicted much of the state's defense industry "will be ravaged and raped over the next three, four, five years."
He remembered the power wielded by former Reps. Dan Flood and Joseph McDade in bringing home money.
"Regardless of what they may have done, or people's feelings about it, or how bad earmarks are, they literally ... were the saviors of this area," he said.
He also predicted the death of his "too big to fail" legislation if he is not re-elected.
"If I get that accomplished, I will have saved and stabilized the regulatory regime in the United States for the next 50 to 75 years ... I will have done more than I ever anticipated doing," he said. "I just happen to be a lucky son of a gun; I'm in the right place at the right time in the right set of circumstances."
He called Mr. O'Brien "a very nice young man" and "ambitious."
"There's nothing wrong with being ambitious. When I was younger, I was probably more ambitious than I am now," he said.
Then, he argued anyone running for Congress should plan to keep returning to build up seniority.
"So if you decide, if you're only going there to stay three terms, and run for governor or run for president, or whatever else you're going to run for, you're getting the advantage of the office you're going to hold," he said. "But your constituents aren't because they're going to start from ground zero again when that person moves on."
He denied he's talking about Mr. O'Brien, but who else could it be but the commissioner who is halfway through his first term and running for higher office?
Mr. O'Brien vowed he would not seek a higher office if elected to Congress.
If seniority matters so much, why did Mr. Kanjorski bring home fewer dollars in the 2010 federal budget than Rep. Chris Carney, D-10? Mr. O'Brien asked.
It was $17.8 million for 19 projects for Mr. Carney, compared to $16.3 million for 21 projects for Mr. Kanjorski, according to the government watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense.
If Mr. Kanjorski wants to take credit for rescuing the financial system, he must take blame for the Wall Street meltdown, Mr. O'Brien said.
"It happened on his watch," he said.
Ed Mitchell, Mr. Kanjorski's campaign spokesman, said Mr. O'Brien supported Mr. Kanjorski because of the congressman's ability to bring home federal money for projects such as flood control in Scranton and the Wyoming Valley, the local airport, Tobyhanna Army Depot and many others.
"This is just more negative attack rhetoric by O'Brien to try to advance his political ambition and opportunism," he said.
BORYS KRAWCZENIUK, The Times-Tribune politics reporter, writes Random Notes.
Any chance Republicans could take those state senate seats?
Did they ever find the $9 million he earmarked into his family's company?
You need to do more homework out there in Ohio.
Kanjorski is one of the most corrupt people in Congress.
He is also the role model for the coming welfare state. He represnts an area that has been in depression since the 1950s, when the coal mines shut down, and the 1960s, when the textile plants moved out to the non-ILGWU South, and later offshore.
It is an area where most of the increasingly elderly people are on some government dole giving their votes to the Democrat who can continue the doles or bring them more. The downtowns of most communities, once vibrant business areas catering to a middle class, are now shells gutted out by government “urban development” programs.
If you want to see what all of America will soon look like, go to Kanjorski’s district. And hope that there will be enough rich people in Hollywood and Westchester and Chevy Chase to keep them afloat.
Not only is Kanjorski the typical CongressCrook, the duffus thinks that after friggin decades of his leadership the result is massive collapse of the economy...and yet this idiot wants to talk about his seat on the TBTF Bank commitee...unbelievable. He is toast, if there’s a decent R or even D to run against this creep!
If the game is losing elections, then yes, I agree.
If he's such a good guy, why are Chris Dodd and his buddy Barney Frank still in Congress? They should be in jail for what they did.
Kanjorski is an entrenched liberal, slick enough to fool enough people into voting him in another term.
He;s a MEAN SOB.
Lou Barletta is likely to defeat him this go-around.
Not likely for the Musto seat. However, for the Mellow seat, a businessman named Frank Scavo may have a shot.
I predict that Lou Barletta will clean Kanjorski’s clock in the general election.
Don’t forget that Rangel is a close friend as well (see the link in post 1 where he sneaks into the back door of a Rangel fundraiser)