English Goes Negative as Barletta Airs First TV Spot

Posted August 13, 2008 at 2:09pm

Republicans are hitting the airwaves across the Keystone State, with a longtime House incumbent attacking his Democratic opponent for the first time and a GOP challenger across the state going up with his first ad in a competitive northeastern district.

Rep. Phil English (R) is on the air with a negative advertisement against businesswoman Kathy Dahlkemper (D), who is considered to be the lawmaker’s toughest challenger since his first re-election bid in 1996. The ad, which is the Congressman fourth’s of the cycle, hits Dahlkemper for not releasing her tax returns.

“Voters should expect full financial disclosures from their candidates. That’s why Phil English released his tax returns to the public,” and it’s why presumptive presidential nominees Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), as well as former candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), all released their tax returns, an announcer says in the ad. “But Kathy Dahlkemper refused to release her tax return to the public. If full financial disclosure from our candidates is important, then why was Kathy Dahlkemper the only one of the five candidates who refused to release her tax returns?”

English has been on the airwaves since the beginning of June and a survey released by Dahlkemper’s campaign in July showed a tight race. A spokesman for English’s campaign, Adam Beebe, said the Congressman also ran contrast advertisements last cycle against his little-noticed opponent.

Meanwhile, across the state in northeastern Pennsylvania, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta (R) went on the air for the first time in his bid against veteran Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D). Although the district has historically voted Democratic, polling released by Barletta’s campaign this month showed the Republican with a small lead.

The 30-second spot, which the campaign said is scheduled to hit the airwaves today, has a positive tone focused on a message of change and features Barletta at what appears to be a recent campaign rally.

“We can’t change Washington unless we change the people we send there,” Barletta says in the ad. “If we keep electing the same people, we’ll keep getting the same results. It’s about the issues facing all of us today: the economy, jobs, the housing crisis, health care, energy and yes, illegal immigration. America wants change and ladies and gentlemen, change is on the way.”