After months of speculation, former Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) announced that he will not make a bid for the 8th Congressional District in 2020.
“After much thought and many conversations with my family I’ve decided that I do not intend on running for Congress in 2020,” Barletta said in a release. “My eight years in Congress are an experience I will always be grateful for, there was no greater honor than serving the residents of Pennsylvania in Congress and the residents of Hazleton as their mayor but I have made the decision to not seek an elected office next year.”
Barletta, who served in Congress for 8 years in the old 11th District and launched an unsuccessful bid for Senate in 2018, said he is instead placing his focus on his new “boutique consulting firm, Pioneer Strategies, which he opened a few months ago.” The consulting firm will focus primarily on political campaigns and government affairs and points to his experience starting a line painting business with his wife and time serving in Congress as the reason for starting this new chapter of his life.
“Reflecting on that period of my life and my time as a public servant I see that there’s a great opportunity to merge my areas of expertise,” Barletta said in a release. “The goal of my firm is to use the knowledge I’ve gained through my experiences to help others navigate through their journey.”
In an interview with PoliticsPA in August, Barletta also detailed his push to support candidates that share his stance on undocumented immigration and supporting the building of a wall at the United States southern border through his “Leaders Only Unite,” LOU PAC.
Barletta was also rumored to be a possible candidate for the special election in the 12th Congressional District earlier this year for the seat vacated by former Rep. Tom Marino (R-Luzerne), but passed on that run as well. Although Barletta did not seek the GOP nomination for the open seat, he did offer support for now Rep. Fred Keller (R-Snyder) by speaking at a rally headlined by President Donald Trump the night before the election in Montoursville, while his PAC provided a $2,000 donation to Keller’s Congressional campaign.
His release did add that although Barletta is not running for the 8th District in 2020, he hasn’t ruled out a run in the future for elected office.
“I will never close the door on any future opportunity but for right now my focus is on starting my new chapter,” Barletta said in a release.
The race for the 8th District is expected to be closely watched in 2020. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna), who is currently serving in his fourth term in Congress, bested self funding GOP businessman John Chrin in 2018 by 9 points in the newly drawn congressional boundaries that voted for President Donald Trump by 10 points in 2016.
Cartwright is currently the only Democrat that has filed paperwork with the FEC to run in 2020 as of now. Teddy Daniels, a former police officer and wounded combat Army veteran, is the lone GOP candidate that has entered the race for the 8th District thus far.