Matt Cartwright, the Lackawanna County attorney challenging Rep. Tim Holden, now says he would have supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which Holden opposed. The clarification came four months after he told PoliticsPA he would have opposed the measure.
“I would not have voted for it as is,” Cartwright told PoliticsPA in December. “I would have voted for something similar to that, but not as is.”
He corrected himself on Sunday.
“I expressed myself badly when we spoke back in December,” he said. “I mean, the sentiments are all the same, it’s just that what I meant was I didn’t like the health care law the way it came out. And if I could have voted for a different version and voted against that, that’s what I would have done.”
He said he would have preferred a stronger version of the bill.
“The one that I would have immediately and enthusiastically voted for would have been the one with the public option.”
The health care vote has been a major theme in his campaign recently – personal appearances, television ads, and his website. Cartwright lauded the legislation in an interview Sunday, saying he served on the board of a hospital and that the law helps address the cost-drivers in health care.
Holden voted against the bill, citing its approximately $500 million in cuts to Medicare.
The Congressman’s campaign called Cartwright’s shift a flip-flop.
“Matt Cartwright is a political opportunist,” said Holden campaign manager Eric Nagy. “We’re not quite sure where he stands on any issue, because he flip-flops on so many of them. He’s also touting himself as the pro-choice candidate, but on more than one occasion has declared to be pro-life.”
“Matt Cartwright can’t seem to make up his mind but, one thing is certain, Tim Holden has spent a career fighting Republican attacks on the middle class. Once re-elected, he will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Barack Obama and Joe Biden to protect Social Security and Medicare.”
The current 17th district is among the most conservative in America represented by a Democrat, and Holden has said that he voted as constituents would have. In the same way, he says, he plans to vote in the future the way the constituents of the new 17th district would (read: closer to the Democratic party line).
“Am I sympathetic to that position? No, no, no. When I’m elected to Congress, I will do the right thing,” Cartwright said. “I’ll do the right thing first and then worry later about how I’ll get re-elected.”
Odds and ends:
Cartwright says his campaign’s internal polling is, “getting better, not worse,” from their poll a few weeks ago that showed him with a 42 to 36 lead. He also said he’d consider putting in more of his own money – he’s chipped in $380K so far – but he doesn’t have specific plans to do so.