Holden Calls for Ceasefire, Cartwright Accepts (Watch Videos)

Can you blame him? Rep. Tim Holden today called on his opponent Matt Cartwright – and the numerous outside groups seeking to boost him – to end negative campaign ads.

“In this campaign, both sides have gone too far. Between Matt Cartwright and outside organizations, over $1 million has been spent on negative ads against me on TV, in the mail, and on the Internet,” Holden said.

He’s faced half-a-million dollars in attacks from outside groups in the past month. The Campaign for Primary Accountability has run two ads against Holden (here and here); the League of Conservation Voters ran its own negative ad; and the Blue America PAC has put up anti-Holden billboards.

The 9-term Congressman has thrown his fair share of punches, too. Before today, he’d aired an introductory ad, then a spot blasting Cartwright for contributing to the ‘Kids for Cash’ judges and another which emphasized his opponent’s wealth.

“I take responsibility for my campaign’s part in that, and yesterday, ordered that only positive ads will be aired detailing my record on Social Security and the need to protect it from Republican efforts to dismantle it. I urge Matt Cartwright to join me in running a positive campaign for the final five days of this campaign.”

Holden also defended himself against one of their favorite criticisms – that Holden voted for the “Halliburton loophole” in the Clean Drinking Water Act – by noting that then-Senator Barack Obama voted the same way.

In conjunction with today’s message, his campaign pulled a spot that criticized Cartwright, an attorney from Lackawanna County, from contributing to judges who he’d argued cases in front of (not an uncommon circumstance in the legal profession). That ad is below. In its place they began airing the ad above, touting Holden’s advocacy for seniors.

Cartwright agreed to the ceasefire.

“Since day one I have run a positive, issues based campaign,” he said. “As of 10:30 am this morning we have asked all the stations to run our closing ad, ‘It’s Time,’ for the remaining five days of this campaign. I have also called other parties and requested they take their ads down and I call on Mr. Holden to ask the blue-dog group Center Forward to remove their ads accusing me of falsehoods.” [Details on that below]

Cartwright has had the luxury of running a positive race; outside groups have been beating Holden up for him.

On TV, Cartwright has stuck to introducing himself, and a few other Democratic campaign themes. He also aired a spot defending himself against Holden’s ‘Kids for Cash’ charge.

This morning, his campaign held an event to rebut the latest negative Holden ad about lawyers giving to judges. The press conference featured Michele Kachurak, a particularly sympathetic client of Cartwright’s who he represented in front of a judge whose campaign he had supported.

“Yesterday’s attack against me was a new low even for him, and he only pulled his ad because of public outrage.  If Tim Holden really wants to show that he has turned over a new leaf, he needs to publicly apologize to Michelle Kachurak,” Cartwright said.

Holden’s request might fall on deaf Super PAC ears. Asked if he would respect a ceasefire, Curtis Ellis, a spokesman for the Campaign for Primary Accountability, said his group would continue its “equalizer role” against the power of incumbency.

“We will continue our work to give voters the tools they need to hold their representatives to their promises,” he said.

New Anti-Cartwright PAC Ad

Meanwhile, Holden will have to tell his own supporters to back off the negative ads. Politico reports:

Center Forward, a Washington, D.C.-based organization headed up by former Blue Dog and Alabama Rep. Bud Cramer, is airing a TV ad hitting Holden’s opponent, attorney Matt Cartwright, from the right and casting him as far too liberal to serve in Congress.

“Washington’s gridlocked — and Matt Cartwright would make things worse,” the spot says.“Instead of finding common ground, Cartwright says, ‘the answer is to raise the noise level. Don’t agree with him? Cartwright says, ‘You don’t compromise with people like that.’”

The spot also portrays Cartwright as an opponent of President Barack Obama, saying that he “even put down President Obama on health care reform. More yelling. Less cooperation. Blaming President Obama. That’s the worst of Washington. That’s Matt Cartwright.”

Center Forward is spending $100,000 to run the ad in the newly redrawn 17th District….

Holden’s final anti-Cartwright ad, courtesy of the Cartwright campaign.

8 thoughts on “Holden Calls for Ceasefire, Cartwright Accepts (Watch Videos)

  1. Has anyone seen Matt Cartwright outside of Scranton? Tim Holden has been all over and seems to be more in touch with all of the people in the district. Not just the people that live in Scranton. I met them both and Matt seemed like he didn’t want to be bothered with the issues of the smaller towns or the people that live in them. Tim Has got my vote!

  2. Doesn’t anyone notice which ads say they are approved by the candidate and which are not. Holden clearly approved these ads. They were not some outside PAC-they were his campaign.
    Also I find it fascinating that Holden calls for the ceasefire after his ads have been all about personal attacks on Cartwright from the beginning. This new bit on social security is the first thing we have seen that remotely resembles an issues based ad from Holden. Kind of late?

  3. I love it!! GO CARTWRIGHT!!
    Finally, we will have a REAL Democrat!!

    Keep Monroe County BLUE!!!! (well, southern Monroe, anyway…Barletta still has a stranglehold on Stroudsburg…sorry, guys, I feel for ya!!)

  4. I volunteered for during the Bucks County Commissioners Race, and Mr. Nagy was the campaign manager for Diane Marseglia and Det Ansinn. I found Eric Nagy is a fine young man who is bright and hardworking. I’ve been volunteering for campaigns since 1960, and while things have changed a lot since then, I can honesty say that Eric and his team were among the most professional and dedicated that I’ve met. Politics can be a crazy business, but folks like Eric work their behinds off. It’s just plain mean-spirited to say otherwise. One of my grand kids lives up in Wilkes-Barre, and I’m glad to say she is voting for Congressman Holden.

  5. I do not think there is anybody to blame with all of the outside money being spent. More dollars have been spent on negative advertisements by these groups than the candidates. The Citizens United case is absolutely ruining politics. I especially feel bad in alot of these districts where average people blame the candidates running for the negative ads being put out by these groups. Things have to change fast, November is going to be awful.

  6. I can’t believe Congressman Holden has got himself in this position. This has got to be one of the worst run campaigns. If Tim loses this primary Mr Nagy will have a hard time finding a job running an election for dog catcher. The whole thing is mind boggling.

  7. Weird request in the final 5 days. I imagine the damage has already been done. Whatever.

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