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Fewer than 500 days left until Election Day 2020

Published July 18. 2019 01:05PM

When I was a rookie radio reporter in 1962, the late U.S. Rep. Francis E. Walter, D-Pennsylvania, told me that he never stopped running for office even though he was re-elected 14 times after first winning in 1933.

Times have not changed; if anything, the emphasis on getting re-elected starts the day after a candidate has won election. Since U.S. House terms are just two years, fundraising and the other necessary evils associated with hanging on to the job are never far from an officeholder’s top of mind awareness.

That is certainly true with the three members of Congress who represent the five-county Times News region. Two of them — Susan Wild and Dan Meuser — are freshmen; the third, Matt Cartwright, will be seeking his fourth term but just the second time in a redrawn district.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has listed Wild and Cartwright as vulnerable, although they do not use that forbidden word. Since both are in what is considered swing districts, the national organization wants to be sure that Democrats hold or improve on the 9-9 split in the state’s congressional delegation.

A third Democrat similarly identified is Conor Lamb, who represents Pittsburgh’s western suburbs and who won a special election in 2018 despite President Donald Trump stumping for his Republican opponent, Rick Saccone. The difference in the largely Republican district was just four-tenths of a percentage point.

Unless Meuser does something stupid, he should have clear sailing in the heavily Republican district which includes all of Carbon and Schuylkill counties. Schuylkill has been a Republican stronghold for a long time, but Carbon flipped about a year ago, and the once reliable Democratic county is becoming redder with each passing day.

The sprawling district — one of the state’s largest geographically — also includes all of Columbia, Lebanon and Montour counties and parts of Berks, Luzerne and Northumberland. Meuser must travel more than 100 miles to cover the north-south extremities of his district.

Dean Browning, former Lehigh County commissioner and unsuccessful candidate in the Republican primary in 2018, announced in January that he is seeking Wild’s seat.

A tea party businessman who retired from an executive position in 2018 at New World Aviation in Lehigh County, Browning is an avid Trump supporter who has also run unsuccessful campaigns for county commissioner re-election and Lehigh County Executive.

Several prominent Republicans, including a Tamaqua native, have shown interest in going after Wild, although neither has committed so far. They are Lisa Scheller, now living in South Whitehall Township, who is former chair of the Lehigh County Commissioners. She is chief executive officer and president of Silberline Manufacturing Inc., headquartered in Tamaqua.

Scheller decided not to run for re-election to the board of commissioners in 2015, but she has remained active in GOP politics and has financially supported local and national Republican candidates. Among them were Lehigh County Commissioner Chair Marty Nothstein, who lost to Wild in the 2018 general election; U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, who were unsuccessful candidates for president in 2016.

Also reportedly exploring a possible Wild challenge is Matt Connolly, a former race car driver from Bethlehem, who had run unsuccessfully for the Congressional seat formerly held by Cartwright before redistricting.

Republicans are looking for a strong candidate to take on Cartwright in an effort to flip the 8th District, which includes part of Monroe County, including Polk and Chestnuthill townships, along with part of Luzerne County and all of Lackawanna, Pike and Wayne.

Cartwright handily defeated largely self-funded Republican businessman John Chrin, originally from Northampton County who moved to Monroe to take on Cartwright, but his campaign never gained traction as he lost to Cartwright 55-45%.

To try to unseat Cartwright, who is considered the more vulnerable of the two Democrats, Republicans need to cast their sights on the Scranton area for a “big gun” with name recognition.

By Bruce Frassinelli | tneditor@tnonline.com

Comments
Susan Wild brought big donor money in, outspending Nothstein 3:1.
Wild isn't re-electable, she's not done anything, sort of like Dent was.
She's also moving toward the socialist movement. Wake up folks!
I like Dent, he had a productive career. To get on the appropriations committee is impressive and he had a natiinal profile.

What would have like to have seen Wild do in the year or so she has been in office?
Walk away from her liberal/progressive ways to start. It would be nice to see her get in step with the President, as he Makes America Great Again.
MAGA
But she wasn't elected to do that. So what you are suggesting is that she go back on everything she promised during her campaign that got her elected, twice?

I thought christians valued honesty
BTW, only people who hate America think its isnt great. The fact that you want to see it great again is an insult to everyone who made it great today.
Joe...Come on! You are fully wrong on this. Who are you to project your narrow-minded viewpoints upon others. America is Great. I love America. You are a fraud Joe. America is Great and I want to see it get even greater. This ideal is what every American should dedicate themselves to. The trouble with liberals is you think Conservatives are bad people with bad ideas. Conservatives think liberals are good people with bad ideas. That is why liberals go to any means to defeat Conservatives. Lies, fake news, blasphemy & violence are not beyond some liberals to advance their agenda. You, Joe, render yourself intellectually useless when you refuse information. No wonder you are so far off in your self-imposed world of delusions. Keep it up. When someone disagrees with you, that doesn’t make them any less of a person. I encourage everyone to assist in making America greater today than it was yesterday. If you disagree with President Trump you should display an element of class. MAGA!
Hold on Joe. You are unclear in your statement. You state,”...only people who hate America think its isnt great.” This is unintelligible. You changed your post. Please note that my response to this post shall be put on hold. Fans request that I keep my post up as a reference. I will comply with that request.
I liked Charlie Dent...until the very end when he fell off the table. I donated to his campaign until I moved out of the area. I met him a couple of times and liked him. He was smart and friendly. I even spilled a glass of ice water in his lap at a dinner once.
Dent was a shifty moderate who learned to play union members, especially teachers, like a fiddle.
He was like the wind sock over at the airport, following the political winds. Never could nail him down.
Nope, we went from bad to horrible. The only reason Wild won, was they threw dirt at Nothstein, and pumped three times the money Nothstein had, in to Wild's Campaign. Wild is considering running on the socialist ways next term... watch! Dent gave the seat to Wild. Thanks Charlie, you deserve more than water in the lap.
Yeah, that 4th July ceremony was based in hatred of those who hated America so much, they died for her.

You crack me up Joe! For one so educated, you post some strange stuff.
Right on Mr. Meyers. America is great! What an honor to be an American. I am grateful every day to have been born in America. I would like everyone to go to Rush Limbaugh’s site and order a Betsy Ross Flag T-shirt. All proceeds go to military/law enforcement families of the fallen. Patriotism is never wrong. I bought 10 shirts at $27 each. You couldn’t have a better cause. Let us send a message. Limbaugh already gave $1.5 Million to this charity. MAGA=Love for America

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