Pennsylvania: Kanjorski May Face High-Profile Primary

Posted April 22, 2009 at 6:41pm

Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D) barely survived his re-election bid last year, and he could be in for a primary battle next cycle. Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien (D) is reportedly considering challenging the Financial Services subcommittee chairman in 2010.

“I’ve spoken to my family about that … and I’ve been taking all the appropriate steps to review it and consider it seriously and I look forward to continuing to look at it,— O’Brien told a local newspaper.

The Scranton Times-Tribune also reported that O’Brien had met with political consultant Jimmy Siegel, who worked with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) and the man who succeeded him, Gov. David Paterson (D).

Kanjorski won with 52 percent in 2008, defeating Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta (R) after several public polls showed him trailing the Republican up until Election Day. Currently in his 13th term in the House, Kanjorski has had stiff election challenges only twice — both from Barletta, in 2002 and 2008.

Little-Known State Rep. Launches Senate Bid

Little-known state Rep. Bill Kortz (D) has launched a bid for Senate, according to local reports. Kortz told several state newspapers that he plans to file to run for the seat held by Sen. Arlen Specter (R) after serving just two terms in the Pennsylvania House.

Kortz joins former National Constitution Center President Joe Torsella (D), who is already in the race, and a handful of Members who are considering bids. Democratic Reps. Joe Sestak, Allyson Schwartz and Patrick Murphy have not ruled out running for Senate. Kortz’s colleague in the House, state Rep. Josh Shapiro (D), is also looking at running.

Specter is expected to face stiff challenges in the primary and — if he wins the GOP nod — the general election. Former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) is challenging Specter for a second time next year, following up on their 2004 match in which the Senator defeated him by less than 2 percent in the Republican primary.