Congressman Tim Holden not only has his first opposition on a Democratic ballot, but also must introduce himself to a realigned district and win over new voters in the coming primary election next Tuesday, April 24.
Holden, of Saint Clair, is completing 20 years as the representative of the 17th Congressional District and this year is being challenged in the Primary Election by attorney Matthew A. Cartwright, of Plains, Luzerne County, for the Democratic Party nomination to represent the people of the 17th Congressional District.
Cartwright became eligible to run for Congress because his hometown of Plains was newly added to the 17th Congressional District, under the redistricting plan based on the 2010 census, which was upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
This is Cartwright's first venture into politics. He is an attorney in Scranton. He has attacked Holden's record, claiming he was not a true Democrat while Holden points out Cartwright contributed to the campaigns of corrupt judges in Luzerne County, who are now serving jail terms.
The district ranges from Pottsville to Scranton. Added are parts of Carbon County, consisting of townships of East Penn, Franklin, Lower Towamensing, Mahoning and Towamensing and boroughs of Bowmanstown, Jim Thorpe, Lansford, Lehighton, Nesquehoning, Palmerton, Parryville, Summit Hill and Weissport. All of Schuylkill County and parts of Monroe, Northampton are also in the district.
Prior to the redistricting Luzerne and Lackawanna were part of the 11th District. Dropped were Dauphin and Lebanon counties. Prior to the redistricting the 17th Congressional District the Republican Party had the majority of voters, however, with the addition of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre and the dropping of Dauphin and Lebanon counties, Democrats now hold the majority in the district.
There is a contest for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator between the incumbent, Sen. Bob Casey Jr., of Scranton, and Joseph John Vodvarka, McKees Rock, Allegheny County. Vodvarka is a retired spring manufacturing shop owner.
For the Democratic nomination for state Attorney General the contest is between Kathleen G. Kane, Clark Summit, Lackawanna County, and Patrick Murphy, Philadelphia.
Democratic candidates in the primary who are unopposed include:
President Barack Obama; Eugene A. Depasquale, York, for state auditor general; Robert M. McCord, Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County, for state treasurer; Tim Seip, Washington Township, Schuylkill County, for state senator from the 29th Senatorial District; Neal P. Goodman, Mahanoy City, for state representative of the 123rd Legislative District; and Vicki Hartman, Hegins Township, for state representative from the 125th Legislative District. No candidate filed for state legislator to represent the 124th Legislative District. Voters can write-in the name of a candidate.
Voters will be asked to select four males and four females as delegates to the Democratic National Convention to endorse a candidate for president. There are four male and four female candidates from the 17th Congressional District on the ballot seeking to be elected as delegates.
William J. O'Gurek Jr., Summit Hill, Carbon County; Elizabeth A. Bettinger, Pottsville, Schuylkill County; Walter R. Garvin, Bethlehem, Northampton County; Roxanne G. Pauline, Taylor, Lackawanna County; Thomas M. Shubilla, Plains Township, Luzerne County; and Todd J. O'Malley, Rosemary Ann Boland and Evie Rafalko McNulty, all of Scranton, Lackawanna County. All eight candidates, if elected, are committed to cast their ballot for President Obama.
Only one alternate delegate is to be elected, a male delegate. Alexander Bryan Altieri, Bethlehem, Northampton County, appears on the ballot.