Argall vs. Holden?
JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS State Sen. David Argall, seen here after winning the special election for the 29th District seat of the late James J. Rhoades last March, is rumored to be considering a run for U.S. Congress this year.
Speculation has been rampant in recent weeks that a battle for U.S. Congress could be brewing between two of Schuylkill County's political heavyweights.
Republican state Sen. David Argall, Lake Hauto, who currently represents the 29th District that includes all of Schuylkill and parts of Carbon, Berks, Monroe, Lehigh and Northampton counties, has been rumored to be considering a run at the 17th Congressional District seat held by incumbent Democrat Timothy Holden of St. Clair.
An announcement by Argall appears to be imminent, according to published reports.
Robert Ames, Coaldale, Schuylkill County GOP chairman, has confirmed that Argall will make his plans known on Monday, Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Tamaqua Train Station, North Railroad Street.
"At that time, he (Argall) will announce what his intentions are," said Ames.
Argall has served 24 years as Pennsylvania state representative for the 124th District, which covers eastern Schuylkill and northern Berks Counties.
He remained a member of the state House through early 2009, holding key positions such as whip and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and Caucus chairman.
In March, 2009, Argall won a special election for the 29th Senatorial District seat vacated by the death of incumbent James J, Rhoades in an automobile accident near Brodheadsville the previous October.
Argall currently serves as vice chairman of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, and is a member of the Senate's Appropriations, Education, Labor and Industry and Community, Economic, Recreation Development Committees.
Argall has not yet completed his first full year as a state senator, but he stated there has been a groundswell of support for him to consider a run for the Congressional seat.
"The last few weeks have been unlike anything I've ever seen," said Argall when contacted Wednesday. "People have been upset with what is happening in Washington and have been saying to me I should look at the possibility (of running for Congress).
"Up until a few weeks ago, my response had been thanks, but no thanks, because I really wanted to concentrate on being a senator, but people have continued to ask me to consider this."
Argall insisted it has not just been Republican Party leaders that have urged him to throw his hat into the Congressional ring.
"It has come from people who have never been involved in politics as well as people who have been active in their communities for many years," related Argall. "It's an interesting cross section."
Ames said that any support for an Argall run would have to be more widespread than just the Schuylkill County GOP.
"Schuylkill makes up only about 22 percent of the 17th Congressional District," he remarked. "In a case like this, we are only part of the whole picture."
The 17th District includes all of Schuylkill, Lebanon and Dauphin Counties and parts of Berks and Perry Counties.
If Argall does decide to run for the Republican nomination, he will not be the only candidate, as Josh First of Harrisburg has already announced his candidacy on the Republican side.
Holden, 52, a former Schuylkill County Sheriff, was first elected to Congress in 1992. He is vice chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
On Monday, it is anticipated Argall will end the speculation surrounding his potential Congressional candidacy.