When we last covered this race between the long-time incumbent Paul Kanjorski and local mayor Lou Barletta, we didn’t quite realize just how much Kanjorski’s time in Congress has warped his view of reality. Showing just how bad a grip Kanjorksi has on economic issues, he supported his party’s failed stimulus, oversaw the loss of thousands of jobs in his district, and still feels it proper to declare “we are now out of the woods” when it comes to the economy. Given his track record of trying to funnel taxpayer money to family businesses, it’s no wonder the Congressman is confused on how a stimulus program should work.
In office for over a quarter century, Kanjorski has been “too wrong for too long”. Confronted with the realization he may be in political trouble this fall, Kanjorski has worked to give the appearance of scheduling townhall meetings with constituents in Northeast Pennsylvania. The only problem? No one knew they were townhalls until after they happened. At this rate, it looks to be par for the course for a Democrat who has made a career that’s all about appearances: the appearance of financial reform (except he really just worked to bail out Wall Street executives), the appearance of voting independently (except he really just supported his party leaders and earned a quiet endorsement from a likeminded President Obama), and the appearance of supporting businesses (except he really just secured government contracts and money for companies set up by him and his family).
Lou Barletta has run an aggressive campaign since jumping into the race, and the signs of progress are clear. Polling shows the election is competitive and political handicapper Charlie Cook moved this race from “Lean D” to “Toss Up” over the summer. As the race continues to develop in the final weeks, be sure to keep an eye on the excitement in the Keystone State.