Republicans want to flip Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Will a former Congressman and close Trump ally be their candidate in 2020?
According to National Journal, former Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) is considering a bid in the 8th District against incumbent Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna).
Cartwright won his most recent reelection bid over GOP challenger John Chrin by nearly 10 points, in a district that voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 over Sec. Hillary Clinton by close to double digits. While Trump was on the ballot in 2016, Cartwright fended off a challenge from Republican candidate Matt Connolly by securing a 7 point victory.
Since starting his fourth term in Congress, Cartwright was selected to serve as one of the three co-chairs for the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, which they deem as the “messaging arm of the caucus.” Cartwright is also one of the early Pennsylvania Congressmen who endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden’s bid for the White House.
Barletta, who served four terms in Congress, was unsuccessful in his challenge against incumbent Sen. Bob Casey this past November. Casey notched a double digit victory over Barletta in the statewide race, but Barletta only lost by 5 points in the 8th district boundaries.
Former Rep. Lou Barletta (who lost #PASen last year) is being recruited for #PA08, in northeastern PA. Both Senate candidates were from here (it also has Joe Biden’s home of Scranton) but Casey carried it by 5%. Trump carried PA-10 by 10% in 2016, but local Dems run better. pic.twitter.com/H19gkSVvpw
— J. Miles Coleman (@JMilesColeman) June 13, 2019
Since his defeat in November, Barletta hasn’t exactly shied away from the political discussion. He was rumored to be a candidate for the 12th District, vacated by former Rep. Tom Marino (R-Lycoming), but ultimately decided against running in that race. Barletta appeared on stage at Trump’s rally in Montoursville the day before the special election in the 12th Congressional District, boosting the Trump agenda. Last week, Vice President Mike Pence lauded the former Congressman in an address to a Pennsylvania Republican Party dinner for his focus on illegal immigration “long before many people were”.
In addition to the NRCC targeting the 8th District in 2020, two pro Trump super PACs aiming to increase voter registration for the President prior to next year’s election also detailed their focus of trying to flip the 8th district as well.
PoliticsPA is seeking comment from the Cartwright campaign.