Urban Circulating Congressional Petitions in PA-17
By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
Luzerne County Councilman Stephen Urban, who made headlines last year when he switched from Republican to Democrat, is circulating nominating petitions for U.S. Congress. He would face incumbent Rep. Tim Holden and Democratic primary challenger Matt Cartwright, an attorney from Scranton.
“I don’t know yet, we’ll see,” Urban told PoliticsPA in a brief conversation this afternoon.
Urban, 59, was a Luzerne County Commissioner from 2000 until the County switched to home rule in 2011. He then ran and won a seat on the 11-member County Council. His prior experience is in the U.S. Army and military intelligence.
He also ran as a Republican for Lieutenant Governor in 2010, as well as for State Senate against John Yudichak. But his biggest headlines came at the end of 2010, when, citing a lack of GOP support for his campaigns, he switched to Democrat.
He came under scrutiny at the time, but easily won a seat in the crowded primary for County Council last year.
After redistricting, Holden retained only about a fifth of his constituents, meaning that he is more vulnerable to a challenger in 2012 than any time in the past decade. He kept his home turf in Schuylkill County, but shed Harrisburg in exchange for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton area and Easton.
If Urban enters the race, it would be a big boon to Holden. He would likely split the Lackawanna-Luzerne bloc that is key to Cartwright’s campaign.