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Urban Circulating Congressional Petitions in PA-17

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Luzerne County Councilman Stephen Urban, who made headlines last year when he switched from Republican to Democrat, is circulating nominating petitions for U.S. Congress. He would face incumbent Rep. Tim Holden and Democratic primary challenger Matt Cartwright, an attorney from Scranton.

“I don’t know yet, we’ll see,” Urban told PoliticsPA in a brief conversation this afternoon.

Urban, 59, was a Luzerne County Commissioner from 2000 until the County switched to home rule in 2011. He then ran and won a seat on the 11-member County Council. His prior experience is in the U.S. Army and military intelligence.

He also ran as a Republican for Lieutenant Governor in 2010, as well as for State Senate against John Yudichak. But his biggest headlines came at the end of 2010, when, citing a lack of GOP support for his campaigns, he switched to Democrat.

He came under scrutiny at the time, but easily won a seat in the crowded primary for County Council last year.

After redistricting, Holden retained only about a fifth of his constituents, meaning that he is more vulnerable to a challenger in 2012 than any time in the past decade. He kept his home turf in Schuylkill County, but shed Harrisburg in exchange for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton area and Easton.

If Urban enters the race, it would be a big boon to Holden. He would likely split the Lackawanna-Luzerne bloc that is key to Cartwright’s campaign.

8 Responses

  1. My father would have voted for “Obama-Care,” and he supports organized labor. Take a look at this post: . It clearly states he would have supported the health care bill. It also clearly states that he supports the rights of workers to “collectively bargain.”

    He comes from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party and supports the party’s ideals, whereas his opponent does not. When he talked about his position on “Obama-Care” what he meant, and what Politics PA did not mention is that he thinks it doesn’t go far enough. His opponent thinks it goes too far.

  2. Take a look at Cartwright’s announcement speech. Lots of signage, no union bugs. So he’s the dem’s dem but he would have voted against Obamacare and he doesn’t support organized labor?!

  3. I don’t know if I’d call it a “big boon” to Holden. Heck since Urban used to be a Republican, the Luzerne and Lackawanna votes he’s liable to peel off would be the more conservative Dem votes that might otherwise go to Holden. So it really might be a loss to Holden in Luzerne and Lackawanna.

    Plus you’d think with Urban having been a sitting commissioner and part of the most unpopular county government in recent memory, and with him running for every office he can every cycle (sometimes for more than one simultaneously), you’d think people would be fatigued with him. People say there are, and they also say they can’t stand him and his ways, but yet people keep electing him to things. I guess it’s just a case of the definition of mass psychosis or hypnosis or something.

  4. GC, I hope your day job is as a comedian, if so you should definitely use that. No one is scared of him, he will never win anything outside of the county. And big “boon” to Holden? If anything, this reeks of Holden, wonder what he promised Urban. But, give me a break, now there are two republicans in the race and one democrat. This is an easy decision in April.

  5. What these bloggers are afraid of is that Urban is incorruptible, not a party hack, or in the pockets of the unions. The people he visits on the street really like him and want him in office, it’s the political machines that fear and don’t want him.

  6. When Senator Yudichak dubbed him the “perennial campaigner” in his Senate race in 2010, those words could not be closer to the truth.

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