Matt Cartwright Knocks Off Dean of Pa. Congressional Delegation

Tim Holden was defeated by Democrat challenger Matt Cartwright in today’s primary election.

With close to 97 percent of precincts reporting, Cartwright led Holden, 57.1 percent to 42.9 percent.

Following redistricting, 80 percent of the PA-17 constituents were new to Holden. Also, Cartwright stayed clear of the mud thanks to outside groups. He didn’t need to go negative; others did it for him while he remained above the fray.

From statewide redistricting and Holden’s “Blue Dog” label, concerns surrounding a debate and out-of-state funding, there were a variety of derisive issues throughout the PA-17 race. Negative PAC ads directed at Holden, however, were arguably the biggest reason for Cartwright’s victory.

Yet, the notion that outside support was not the sole reason for a Cartwright victory seems to have already escaped several PACs that became involved in the PA-17 campaign.

In a Tuesday night press release, The Campaign for Primary Accountability (C4PA) painted Holden as a friend of Washington lobbyists and a beneficiary of insider-money before touting their own organization’s efforts.

“The Campaign for Primary Accountability acted as the equalizer, so voters were able to learn the facts about Holden and make an informed decision,” wrote spokesman Curtis Ellis. “The Campaign for Primary Accountability is committed to rebuilding the foundation of American representative democracy by fostering fair competitive primary elections in so-called “safe” one-party districts.”

Another PAC —The League of Conservation Voters— even called their press release “LCV Independent Expenditure Campaign Crucial to Holden Defeat.” They also issues an ominous threat within their release.

“Tim Holden is the first candidate this cycle to lose because he is out of the mainstream on global warming and clean energy, but he won’t be the last,” the release said.

The politically progressive organization took some credit for the Holden defeat as well.

“Matt Cartwright was overwhelmingly endorsed by MoveOn members for his track record of fighting for the middle class and his commitment to making sure the 1% pay their fair share,” the release said.

Holden was one of 15 remaining Blue Dog Democrats left in Congress after the 2010 election season.

16 Responses

  1. Whoever that “Casey Evans” was that posted at 1:55 on 4/28, it wasn’t me. Just a heads up!

  2. “We are not enemies, but friends. We MUST not BE enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” A. Lincoln

  3. I only hope I helped Cartwright win by dancing in a thong on the bar that one time. And by getting out the Goth girl vote.

  4. Seriously Vi?
    1) Don’t flatter yourself. A lady doesn’t ask someone to step outside. And I certainly wouldn’t waste my time.

    2) Don’t patronize me. I am not “blinded” by anything. Cartwright won that race because of the outside groups that tainted the political process. That was the most money spent by outside interest groups in a congressional race in history. And the biggest spender? Campaign 4 Primary Accountability. Their mission? To knock off moderate dems in moderate districts, so that the liberals that they elect can be knocked off within a few years. If they GOP had any idea in January that Holden would lose the primary, they would have run a viable candidate. And we played right into their hand. The district is about D+3. Barletta knocked off Kanjo in a much stronger Dem leaning district, don’t think for one second that the GOP isn’t going to run a viabe candidate next time, and the C4PA folks and their ilk will be bankrolling that guy. Incidentally, fundraising and media were the only two areas that my husband’s firm didn’t do for Congressman Holden. You should get your facts straight before attacking hard-working people with stellar reputations.

    As for Casey, who was the congressional candidate you said you “worked” for? Wasn’t it Bill Vinsko, the candidate in YOUR district who the party endorsed? How’d that race turn out? It’s a shame because I really like Bill and I voted for him, despite the fact that my husband’s firm worked with Stilp, because I felt they were both equally qualified and the Luzerne County Democratic Committee endorsed Bill. You see, I understand the concept of loyalty and honoring my word. When I became a member of executive committee, I promised to support the candidates that the committee endorsed. Bill outspent Gene 8-1, but at the end of the day, Gene won. And I certainly don’t blame Vinsko and Jim McNulty, who are both amazing men, with excellent reputations. So you really should watch who you say conducted a “horrible campaign” because it’s the same folks who beat a candidate you said you “worked for” despite being at a huge fundraising disadvantage. I hate to call you out like in a forum like this because you were once a friend, and because, frankly, it’s not the best venue, but as my Aunt Trina always told me, you should never spit into the wind because sometimes it flies right back in your face. Do I “blame” you or Jim or Bill for Vinsko’s loss, and do I think that a loss means you are a bad operative? Of course not, but if you are going to try to blame Dan and Eric or Tim for Holden’s loss, you should probably look in the mirror first.

  5. It is easy to critique Holden when looking at it in retrospect and it is just as easy to critique the way a campaign was run. The second a campaign is over, everyone immediately chimes in and blames how the campaign was run. You have ideas? Great. where were you when you were undoubtedly asked for help? Unless you were there for the decision making process; unless you saw him handled, be quiet.

    As for Congressman Holden–his voting record? Did you look at the district he was previously representing? Anyone with half a brain can tell he voted the way he did because he used to represent a majority republican district. A congressman’s job is to represent, to the best of his ability, his district. Not the district he may have in the future. I’m sorry to those of you who feel those votes do not represent your views–but guess what? You weren’t in his district at the time so why does that really apply to you? Given the new district is very democrat heavy, Holden undoubtedly would have voted in a way that represented that.

    And one last thing–Vi–Holden could have won this race had he actually decided to raise some money, which he did not. If you are so smart, why not mention that? why not blame his financial consultants? An incumbent congressman should have had a whole lot more money in the bank than what Holden had.

  6. Vi is completely right. Holden’s handlers were giving him terrible advice but even that probably would not have been enough to save him. His policies were just out of step with Northeastern Pennsylvania, and that voting record, in combination with a bare knuckled, sleazy, lie-infested campaign turned out to be his own undoing. I mean, you can say what you want about him, but the fact remains that he had a horrible record and a horrible campaign that perpetuated horrible untruths (even down to Holden staff and/or supporters questioning the nationality of his opponent!)

    I only hoped that I contributed to the Cartwright win, in some way. He’s a good and decent man, a progressive with a vision for Northeastern Pennsylvania, and the strongest and best person we can send to Washington to fight for us.

    I thank Congressman Holden for his service and wish him luck in whatever he does next, but it’s time for everyone to move on, get behind Matt Cartwright, and bring in a new era of forward-looking politics to Northeastern Pennsylvania and positive results for our people.

  7. Dear Becca,
    I’m sorry that your affection for your husband does not allow you to see what a poorly run campaign it was. I’m sorry you take that personally, but it’s not personal. It’s about their profession and the execution of their job. Holden’s campaign, top to bottom, strategy and execution, was horrible. Look at the results sweetheart. The fact that they couldn’t, or wouldn’t figure out how to run Holden on the positive aspects of his 20 year record and focus on defining him in a positive way to the 80% of the new district that had no clue who he is, instead of running smear ads against his opponent, was a HUGE miscalculation.
    Those ads defined Holden as completely lacking in integrity. That came from Nagy, your husband, and the rest of the campaign consultants….and Holden himself. They screwed up.
    They’re grown-ups. They should be able to handle the professional criticism coming their way. You, my dear, should avoid the blogs if you can’t handle the truth.
    …and that is my name. Want to find me and take this outside;-)

  8. I have one thought:


    Happy Days Are Here Again and FDR’s dream lives, right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania!

  9. You know what “Vi?” Your potshots at staff are just bush league at best. They are totally unprofessional and the mark of an immature, unseasoned person with nothing better to do than to post anonymously on a message board. That’s really dignified. Maybe you should grow some and stop hiding behind a fake name. I don’t know who you are, or who you THINK you are, but I can tell you one thing: Eric Nagy and his team, which in the interest of full disclosure includes my husband, have more talent and integrity in their little fingers than you could ever dream to possess. It’s over. Matt Cartwright won. Congratulations. As a good foot soldier, I’ll back the Democratic nominee, because I have loyalty to my party, and the moment I accepted a seat in state committee, I gave my word to support the Democratic ticket. Further, I have nothing against Shane Seaver et al. They were just doing their job as best as they could, and that’s politics. But to attack people you don’t even know is just plain trashy. I also have the courage to stand behind my convictions and sign my actual name.

  10. Here’s hoping that this and the Altmire loss are the beginning of the end of Blue Dawgs, and the beginning of a trend which sees Democratic representatives fear primaries as much as Republicans do.

  11. Just have to add, Eric Nagy and his crew ran possibly the worst campaign I have ever seen for an incumbent congressman. Just horrible. I have no idea what they were thinking.

  12. I’d like to know the answer to that as well. It was Holden who was promising to employ the friends and relatives of every party hack in the PA Dems structure in return for an endorsement. If you haven’t gotten it yet, morons, voters don’t give a crap about committee endorsements. 80% of democratic voters are not involved with their local and county party committees…and there is a reason for that. They largely, suck, and are filled with old people who do absolutely nothing that actually aids candidates in races.

  13. I am no fan of Holden, but the election of Cartwright is one of the singularly most disheartening political events I have ever witnessed. He won because he went around and promised everything to everybody. I find it so disturbing that his central message of “free stuff” for everybody resonated so well with voters in this district. What does this tell us about folks in this district?

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