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Is PA-10 Competitive?

Marino, left and Scollo

Pike County businessman Phil Scollo is battling both redistricting and the advantage of incubency. But the Democrat challenging freshman Rep. Tom Marino (R-Lycoming) says his race is among the more competitive in Pa.

PoliticsPA last week took a long look at Democrats’ hopes to pick up congressional seats here and concluded that their odds are long. The article named Marino as a “prohibitive favorite” to win re-election. But is he?

Scollo’s campaign released a memo Tuesday making the case that the race is not so lopsided. Campaign Manager Will Sherry says the relatively inexpensive northeast Pa. media market makes it easier for a challenger – and notes that internal polling by Scollo showed the Democrat in a similar situation vis-a-vis other challengers.

Marino lead Scollo 47 percent to 30 in a poll conducted for Scollo’s campaign in July. That compares to a 50 to 30 point deficit faced by George Badey, according to an internal poll by the Democrat challenging Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Delaware). Manan Trivedi, who is taking on Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Chester) for the second year in a row, released a poll in June that showed him trailing Gerlach 45 percent to 33 percent. Both men are counted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee among their top tier “Red to Blue” candidates.

On top of that, Scollo has found earned media success is smacking Marino over the Congressman’s vote for a defense bill in July that cuts $2.46 billion from U.S. Army operations – including the base at Tobyhanna, a major employer in the region.

“Why haven’t the pundits caught up with the data? Maybe it’s money they are worried about. Well, Scollo outraised Marino last quarter among individuals and the PA-10 media costs are 5-10 times cheaper than the media costs in the Philadelphia market for races like PA-6 and PA-7,” wrote Sherry. “Scollo can win on a small budget, just as Marino did when he unseated the last ‘unpopular’ incumbent.”

Marino isn’t out of the woods. He only reported $302,000 at the end of the second quarter back in June, meaning he’s not inoculated from a well-funded challenge – should one materialize.

Fundraising is the number one reason that Scollo hasn’t made the list of serious Pa. challengers. While Badey reported $204,000 on hand at the end of the second quarter, and Trivedi posted $526,000, Scollo had just $36,000.

When Chris Carney, a Democrat, unseated an ethically challenged Republican in 2006, he raised over $1.5 million according to Incumbent Rep, Don Sherwood had $2.3 million. In 2012, Marino defeated Carney by raising just over $700,000 to Carney’s $1.66 million.

However, there are other factors at play that don’t help Scollo. 2006 was a wave year for Democrats, just as 2010 was a wave year for Republicans. Without another blue wave, which appears unlikely this cycle, it would be hard to topple any incumbent GOPer in the district.

Redistricting hurts, too. The district Carney – a veteran – won in 2006 favored Republicans by an average of 8 points. The newly drawn 10th district favors the GOP by 12.

Marino’s campaign, naturally, says the Congressman isn’t taking the challenge for granted.

“We feel very confident with our current position, however Tom does not take any opponent lightly,” said Marino Campaign Manager Ryan Barton. “As Tom has vigorously traveled the district, he has received an overwhelming amount of support for his conservative record of holding the line on spending, fighting to repeal Obamacare, cutting taxes for our hard working families and creating jobs right here in Pennsylvania.”

“This memo is nothing more than a desperate media stunt from a failing campaign of someone who will be nothing more than a steadfast supporter of Barack Obama’s failed economic policies.”

What do you think? Is PA-10 competitive? Vote in our poll:

Is Pa.'s 10th Congressional District race between Rep. Tom Marino and Phill Scollo competitive?

  • Yes (62%)
  • No (38%)

Total Voters: 154

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9 Responses

  1. My only hope for CD 10 and 11 is that the Democrat challengers garner enough votes to show that with a strong candidate and campaign, these two tea party ideologues can be defeated in 2014 or 2016. Sadly, this is not the year. Neither Stilp or Scollo can raise anywhere close to 50K which shows that noone, not even those who support them, think they are worth the investment of time and money. Political neophytes cannot beat an experienced politician with deep pockets unless they pull a Sherwood.

  2. Phil who?

    Phil Scollo lives a few miles from me and no one around here is taking him seriously. His yard signs are paper rally signs taped to stakes and his wife just ordered 300 yard signs from a sign shop in NEW YORK this week… not a good sign for his campaign.

    Phil was planning to run against State Rep Mike Peifer (HD-139) and would been defeated by at least 70-30. When the Superme Court threw out the new maps Phil was no longer able to run against Rep Peifer and decided to run against Marino.

    Scollo will lose by a huge margin here in Pike and across CD-10 on November 6th. The Pike Dems, which Scollo is a former Chairman of, can’t handle running candidates for local and county office (Republicans control every possible county office and nearly ever local office in Pike County and in 2011 General Election one of the candidates on the Dem ticket for County Commmissioner was a registered Republican who won a write-in campaign against the Dem candidates) but now he is running for Congress. Scollo and Liz Forrest (Democrat candidate against State Rep Rosemary brown in HD-189) will both be defeated by large margins.

  3. Phil has so much to offer this district. An open mind, a great businessman, and someone who represents all.

  4. Scollo represents an opportunity for PA-10 to make a thoughtful choice in this election. What really matters? The empty rhetoric and pandering promises of the Republican incumbent? Or a Democrat who will make mature and intelligent choices which will help turn this country around and serve the residents of PA-10?

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