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Updated Oct. 14, 2010
Kanjorski is among the most endangered Democratic incumbents in a state of endangered Democratic incumbents.
He survived his last election by just 4 points, even as President Barack Obama trounced Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) here by 15 points. And this November, Kanjorski will face the same opponent, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta (R), under very different circumstances.
While Barletta, who gained some national attention for his hardline stance on immigration, has consistently trailed the 13-term incumbent in the money race, a late September poll gave Barletta an 11-point lead.
The money disparity will likely be offset by outside spending. The Scranton-area district, like several others in this battleground region, has attracted a flood of independent expenditures.
The conservative advocacy group the 60 Plus Association has already spent more than $460,000. The National Republican Congressional Committee is pouring in more.
And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, having already spent more than $110,000, acknowledged in the early fall that it would scale back its effort. That's not a good sign for Kanjorski, who needs all the help he can get.
One of the only things keeping us from moving this race more in favor of Republicans is the fact that Kanjorski was thought to be on his political death bed last cycle and ended up winning. This year's environment is obviously very different, but it's for that reason that we aren't quite yet willing to bet Kanjorski is a goner.
District Profile from Politics in America
In the 20th century, the health of northeastern Pennsylvania's 11th was inextricably linked to the production, manufacturing and sale of coal. The industry virtually disappeared in the 1960s, and the loss significantly altered the economy of the Wyoming Valley.
Revitalization efforts are ongoing, including expansions to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport and the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center. There also are long-term proposals to restore passenger and freight rail service from Scranton to New York City. To the southwest, the Wyoming Valley has received millions of dollars to repair levees originally damaged by Hurricane Agnes in 1972 and to prevent future damage. A portion of the funds was allocated for a riverfront project in Wilkes-Barre to create new landing areas and piers, a performance amphitheater, and walking trails.
Carbon County bridges the northern part of the Lehigh Valley and the Poconos region. Rural Monroe and Columbia counties in the Poconos are filled with residents who commute via Interstate 80 to their jobs in New Jersey and New York.
A legacy of union-oriented Democratic support remains, but the 11th has begun to favor the GOP: In 2010, Gov. Tom Corbett won every county in the 11th, and U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta lost only in Lackawanna County.
Manufacturing, retail trade, tourism
Tobyhanna Army Depot, 4 military, 4,184 civilian (2011)
Scranton, 76,089; Wilkes-Barre, 41,498
Scranton's Houdini Museum and Psychic Theater honors the magician's legacy.
|2010||general||Lou Barletta (R)||102,179||54.7%|
|Paul Kanjorski (D)||84,618||45.3%|
|2008||general||Paul Kanjorski (D)||146,379||51.6%|
|Lou Barletta (R)||137,151||48.4%|
|2006||general||Paul Kanjorski (D)||134,340||72.5%|
|Joseph Leonardi (R)||51,033||27.5%|
|2004||general||Paul Kanjorski (D)||171,147||94.4%|
|Kenneth Brenneman (CNSTP)||10,105||5.6%|
|2002||general||Paul Kanjorski (D)||93,758||55.6%|
|Lou Barletta (R)||71,543||42.4%|
|Thomas McLaughlin (REF)||3,304||2%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 57%||John McCain: 42%|
|2004||John Kerry: 52%||George W. Bush: 47%|
|2000||Al Gore: 53%||George W. Bush: 43%|