Former Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) is known for being outspoken on the topic of undocumented immigration from his time as Mayor of Hazelton to his four terms in Congress. Although his 2018 bid for Senate was unsuccessful and is now out of elected office, he’s deciding to stay involved on this issue through the formation of his “Leaders Only Unite,” LOU PAC.
“It’s no secret my political career has been devoted to fighting illegal immigration and national security,” Barletta said to PoliticsPA. “From my time as Mayor, throughout Congress, and that’s one of the causes that I’m going to help try to resolve.”
Barletta believes his PAC, which includes leftover funds from his Senate run according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, can have an impact on supporting like minded candidates that share Barletta’s stance on undocumented immigration and supporting the building of a wall at the United States southern border. During his 2018 bid for Senate, Sen. Bob Casey and Democrats often stated their opposition to Barletta and President Donald Trump’s support for a wall at the southern border.
He also pointed to the PAC focusing on supporting an infrastructure plan, addressing the opioid epidemic, and vouching for after school programs, which he said were important to him as a member of Congress as well.
At the top of his list? Supporting Pennsylvania candidates.
“I am going to try to prioritize on Pennsylvania candidates the most,” Barletta said to PoliticsPA. “We’ll take a look at what candidates fit the criteria. We’ll put together a questionnaire, try to see where these candidates stand on, if they have not been vocal on those issues, we’ll take a look at their voting record.”
The PAC, which has over $140,000 cash on hand as of the beginning of July, spent over $50,000 from the beginning of the year to the end of June, while donating around $5K in that period. During this time period, his PAC provided donations to a number of elected officials and candidates in Northeast Pennsylvania, including a $2,000 contribution to Fred Keller’s Congressional bid. Other candidates the PAC has donated to include the campaigns supporting state Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne), Frank Scavo, who launched an unsuccessful bid for the 114th state House District, and a few more Republicans.
Barletta, who recently made a trip to El Paso, TX to vouch for a border wall, also promised to match the first $2,500 donated to the PAC and make a matching donation to the private GoFundMe campaign to build the wall.
He believes the message of his PAC has been well received thus far and said he’s already built a “rather large list of small donors from around the country” due to his positions on border security and undocumented immigration.
Although Barletta has been out of elected office for less than a year, his name has been mentioned as a possible candidate in 2020 for the 8th Congressional District held by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna).
He’s acknowledged the reports from various national and Pennsylvania centric outlets and said another run is “not something that I am looking into,” while saying he’s particularly enjoying spending time with his family, although he said he hasn’t “closed the door completely” on a bid for office either.
Barletta told PoliticsPA an announcement on his future is expected soon though.
“I’m going to wait until after Labor Day and then I’ll have something to say on what I’m going to do with my future,” Barletta said to PoliticsPA. “Right after Labor Day, I’ll make a public statement about what I plan to do.”
This story was updated to correct the fact that the LOU PAC spent $50,000 from the beginning of the year to the end of June and donated around $5,000 during that timespan.