Pennsylvania: Barletta to Reveal 2010 Plans on Wednesday

Posted December 2, 2009 at 6:33pm

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta (R) plans to announce next week whether he’ll seek a rematch with Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D) in 2010.

“Mayor Lou Barletta will announce his decision on whether to run or not run for Congress in 2010 a week from today,— Barletta 2008 campaign manager Vince Galko wrote in a Wednesday e-mail to reporters.

Just last week, Barletta’s campaign committee asked donors to help him retire his debt, which amounts to about $260,000 over the course of his campaigns. Barletta has unsuccessfully challenged Kanjorski two times, losing most recently to the Congressman in 2008 by 4 points.

Perhaps Barletta is waiting for word on whether Kanjorski will run for re-election in 2010. Two longtime Democratic House Members have announced their retirements in the past few days, and many political observers have speculated that Kanjorski, 72, could be next. Kanjorski’s longtime campaign adviser, Ed Mitchell, confirmed this week that the 13-term Congressman has yet to make a statement about his re-election plans — although he added that he’s campaigning as if he is running for re-election.

Kanjorski is facing a Democratic primary challenge from Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien.

“The Congressman has not made a statement about running next year, but I can tell you he’s raising funds for a campaign and working very hard to represent his district by creating jobs, fighting for affordable health care for all Americans and protecting Medicare and Social Security,— Mitchell said.

Callahan to Accompany Obama in Allentown

A top recruit for House Democrats, Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan, will accompany President Barack Obama in the Lehigh Valley on Friday. Obama is visiting the Allentown area as the first stop of his “White House to Main Street— listening tour on jobs and the economy.

“It is our understanding that we will be involved in an official capacity in the event,— Callahan campaign manager Justin Schall confirmed.

Democrats unsuccessfully wooed Callahan for several cycles to run against Rep. Charlie Dent (R), who has easily won re-election against little-known challengers in recent cycles, even though Democrats on the national ticket won the district in 2004 and 2008. The mayor of Bethlehem decided to finally throw his hat in the ring this summer for the 2010 cycle after receiving calls from Vice President Joseph Biden urging him to get into the race.

Schall also insisted that Callahan’s likely official appearance with Obama was not part of the deal to get the mayor into the race against Dent.

“As a matter a fact, we were very pleasantly surprised when this announcement was made,— he said, referring to Obama’s trip to the Allentown area.

A spokeswoman for the White House, Jen Psaki, confirmed in an e-mail that the president will not be doing any fundraising events for Callahan on his official trip to the region.