Well, it’s not truly a race until the fists start flying.
Last month, independent candidate Nick Troiano announced the creation of an exploratory committee to potentially take on incumbent Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pike). It seems Congressman Marino decided to take this challenge seriously as he issued a letter to potential campaign donors.
Identifying the twenty-four, soon to be twenty-five, year-old Troiano as “a young man barely old enough to serve in Congress”, Rep. Marino sought to hit the first-time candidate on his proposals to touch the third rail of American politics, Social Security.
Citing his opponent’s work creating a group called “The Can Kicks Back”, Marino suggested that Troiano could pose a risk to senior’s Social Security benefits.
“Help me send a message and we’ll let billionaires know that we mean business when we tell them to keep their hands off the Social Security benefits we have earned!” Marino exhorted.
Marino’s technique in the letter is quite ingenious as he seeks to rob Troiano, the independent, of any right to the center of the political spectrum. Early on he refers to his opponent as a “community organizer” with “Wall Street friends.” By scaring Republicans with allusions to President Obama and turning off Democrats with his mention of Troiano’s work with billionaire Pete Peterson, Marino hopes to keep the center to himself.
Troiano Fights Back
The first-time candidate, though, apparently wasn’t going to take this first attack lying down.
“I’m flattered to be the subject of Congressman Tom Marino’s most recent fundraising appeal, which demonstrates through its desperate dishonesty why I am considering running as an independent candidate for Congress in this year’s election,” Troiano stated.
In his response, Troiano seeks to cast himself as the true hero of the political center by describing Marino’s criticism of his past advocacy and his attempts to scare the public about his position on Social Security as tactics of the far left and far right.
After claiming that the Social Security trust fund is set to expire in less than twenty years, Troiano challenges Marino to come up with his own plan and pledges to campaign on this issue if he were to run.
“If I decide to run, I will offer a detailed plan to strengthen Social Security and ensure it remains solvent for generations to come,” Troiano writes. “I challenge the Congressman to stop playing politics as usual and start leading by offering his own ideas. America deserves better.”