Democratic challenger Missa Eaton aggressively criticized incumbent Rep. Mike Kelly over a statement by a spokesman that he was campaigning in northeast Pa. rather than northwest.
In an email to supports and a separate press release Wednesday, Eaton
highlighted a Kelly campaign spokesman’s quote in the Meadville Tribune:
An emailed response from Kelly campaign spokesman Josh Wilson to a Tribune reporter Monday night read: “Mr. Kelly will be campaigning aggressively throughout Northeast Pennsylvania this Fall, which includes a publicly televised debate with his opponents on WQLN.”
Pennsylvania’s Third Congressional District isn’t in northeast Pennsylvania, but northwest and western Pennsylvania. The Third Congressional District covers all or part of seven counties — Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Lawrence and Mercer.
“Redistricting has changed the lines, but the third district is still a Northwest Pennsylvanian seat and the US Representative should know that,” Eaton said in the press release, adding that “This time, he isn’t just ignoring the needs of his constituents, but also who they are.”
Wilson copped to the typo.
“I guess we can add ‘iPhone malfunction’ to the political lexicon. Considering Mike Kelly was born in Pittsburgh and raised in Butler of course he knows his district is in NorthWEST PA,” he said. “It was a careless error made in an rushed attempt to get a response to a reporter on deadline – an error made by me not the Congressman as I was en route to an event. While I regret the error and know it makes for a good tongue-in-cheek response from the loyal opposition, we all know Mike Kelly is well aware of where his district is.”
Wilson works at the firm Long Nyquist and Associates in Harrisburg and has served as spokesman for several campaigns. He is also the Chairman of the Dauphin County Republican Committee.
Eaton is a professor of psychology at Penn State Shenango; Kelly owns several car dealerships.