- February 8, 2023
In just seven weeks, area residents will be joining the rest of the nation by going to the polls to vote. This week Webb Weekly is beginning a series of articles that will begin with our candidates for Washington, followed in the weeks ahead with those in Harrisburg, and concluding with the very important vote
In just seven weeks, area residents will be joining the rest of the nation by going to the polls to vote. This week Webb Weekly is beginning a series of articles that will begin with our candidates for Washington, followed in the weeks ahead with those in Harrisburg, and concluding with the very important vote on the local issue of the proposed reorganization of Williamsport city government.
In Lycoming County, we will be voting for a U.S. Senator and a U.S. Representative to Congress. For the Senate, the two major parties are represented by the incumbent, Democrat Senator Bob Casey Jr. who is running for his third term, and the Republican nominee, former U.S. Representative, Lou Barletta.
Lou Barletta is from Hazelton but has local ties as he attended Bloomsburg University in the 1970s. From college, he went into the family construction business, then started his own business at age 28, and then jumped into politics as a Hazelton city council member, followed by three terms as mayor of Hazelton.
Hazelton is a predominantly Democratic city, and what makes Barletta a unique Republican is that he has won all of his elections in predominately Democratic districts. In 2002, Barletta ran for the U.S. Congress as the Republican candidate in the 11th District. His opponent was nine-term Democratic incumbent Paul Kanjorski. The 11th had long been considered the most Democratic district in Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Barletta narrowly lost and tried again in 2008, and again lost by a thin margin. In 2010, Barletta vs. Kanjorski matched up for the third time, and this time Barletta came away with a 10 percent victory margin.
Lou Barletta is considered a blue-collar sort of guy, whereas the incumbent Senator Bob Casey Jr. comes from political nobility. His father is former Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey Sr., who served two terms from 1987 to 1995. An extremely popular governor, Casey Sr. won many Republican hearts by championing gun rights and especially for his stands against abortion. In fact, Planned Parenthood v. Casey was a major Supreme Court case that upheld almost all the prohibitions on abortion that Casey signed into law.
Bob Casey Jr. has his father’s name, but not his positions. Though he claims to be a pro-life Democrat, his voting record shows something very different. After a decade in the Senate, Casey has become an increasingly reliable vote in support of abortion rights — scoring as high as 100 percent on NARAL Pro-Choice America’s vote tally in 2016 and 2017.
In reality, this Senate race, like other competitive ones throughout the country, will be about Donald Trump. Barletta is unashamedly a Trump supporter, being one of the first to endorse him for the presidency. He was co-chair of Trump’s 2016 Pennsylvania campaign. Like President Trump, Barletta has taken a very strong stand against illegal immigration. This race is Casey’s to lose as he has the tailwind with name recognition and strong financing — whereas the underdog Barletta has a bipartisan appeal with a competitive spirit and MAGA convictions.
U.S. Representative Tom Marino has also been a Trump supporter from the beginning. Running for his fifth term in the newly formed 10th Congressional District in Pennsylvania, Marino is Williamsport born and raised. Passionate about controlling government spending and the opioid crisis, he is solidly conservative. Running against him is Democrat Marc Friedenberg from State College, a teacher, and a self-described cybersecurity law expert. He is a political novice who very narrowly defeated Judy Herschel, a drug and alcohol counselor and also a political novice, in the spring primary. Obviously, the vote for Congress will be a referendum on Tom Marino and also President Trump.
The vote for our representatives in Washington is extremely important, as the choice will be to continue the path that President Trump has set the country on or to hit the brakes and go an entirely different one. Both the Senate and Congressional races in our area offer the voters clear choices on which way they want to go.