Sunday, September 20, 2009

Corey O'Brien for Congress

This story in CQ Politics has been all the buzz the last few days. Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien has filed the required paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for the Pennsylvania 11th Congressional Disctrict seat held by Congressman Paul Kanjorski "out of an abundance of caution at this point, just to ensure that we're following all the appropriate procedures with respect to looking very closely at getting into the race."

The guys at CQ keep an even closer eye on FEC reports than AAJ.

He also put this up on his Facebook page,
I wanted to let you know that I have formed a federal campaign committee to run for the United States Congress. As I continue to evaluate the race, I thought that it would be prudent to form a committee to ensure that I comply with all appropriate federal rules

The FEC disclosure lists Michael Dougherty as the campaign Treasurer. He has a big hill to climb financially as Kanjo's 2nd quarter FEC report shows that he has $614K cash on hand and raised close to $400K in the 2nd quarter. 3/4th's of that came from various Political Action Committees, McGruff has a list of all the PAC's that have contributed to Kanjo just this year. The next FEC filing deadline is October 15th so we will get an inkling if O'Brien can raise the money necessary to take on our long time Congressman.

I talked to Corey yesterday and he had this to say:

I'm very seriously looking at the race and have been humbled by the response of people urging me to run. I think we have to seriously look at both fiscal and ethics reform. It's time to look after the needs of Main Street instead of the needs of Wall Street.

He said he will make a definite decision before the end of the year.

I also asked longtime Kanjorski spokesman Ed Mitchell for his reaction:

The Congressman is not focusing on politics. He's continuing his efforts to reduce unemployment, bring the economy back, re-regulate the financial industry and reform health insurance for all. There'll be enough time for politics next year.

When I first reported that Corey was considering a race against Kanjo in April many people alluded to a deal between them that I can't confirm and seriously doubt. I interviewed O'Brien shortly after that and he sure sounded like a candidate and still does.

For all his human failings, that we all have, Kanjorski, has been a good Congressman. It's tough to follow an act like Dan Flood. I know many of you will bring up the Conerstone thing that was investigated up and down and in and out (probably including cavity searches) by the Navy and the Karl Rove Justice Department but no charges were ever filed. Everytime I drive down River St. in Wilkes-Barre and look at the dikes that protect us I think of him. All the former coal wasteland in Hanover and Naticoke that now have ballfields and houses you can thank Congressman Kanjorski for getting the money to reclaim the land.

Face it, we expect our Representatives to bring home the bacon and he has excelled at it. Just ask any local Fire Department that needed a new pumper truck that costs a couple of hundred grand that they couldn't raise so Kanjo found the money someplace and got them equipment that they needed.

The Scranton Times has the rundown of the race.

Corey O'Brien may not be an official candidate but he sent out this photo to all the local media outlets and they are using it.


Anonymous said...

The political correct thing to do is pound the war drum and remove incumbents, especially Democratic incumbents. I don't see the political experts other than Gort who seem to understand that Kanjorski's seniority is the most important thing NE PA has going for it. Almost 25 years in Washington and the one thing Kanjorski has full knowledge of is where the key to the Treasury is kept. If Kanjorski goes, so goes the Federal funds. It's to bad that people don't understand the reality of Washington. Poor us!!

Professor Milburn Cleaver, OPA said...

Is that photograph from Mr. O'Brien's high school yearbook? I speak merely in jest; seriously, this young man is as qualified to be a United States Congressman as your local garbage collector. Of course, mere qualification never truly made any impression upon the AMerican voter (i.e. the last Presidential election). Should Mr. O'Brien go to Washington, as the previous commentator noted, watch the federal dollars go away. And all of the spoiled, whiney little children who so hated Mr. Kanjorski mainly because of his age, will be crying about a lack of this or a lack of that. Actually, Mr. Kanjorski losing the primary is a long shot, at best; but, if this should happen it will place the Republican nominee in a far better position for victory. Mark my words, students, if Mr. Kanjorski loses, NEPA loses tons of pork money, which is something that your professor can live with--gladly. The day that taxpayer subsidized stadiums, entertainment arenas, and special educational institutions passes is the day that an honest dollars pay will be just that and not a paycheck plundered by government taxes. Mr. Obama's election did not, I repeat, not, herald in a new age of liberalism; it indeed is bringing us into a new age of true fiscal conservatism. When the GOP takes over both Houses next year it will begin the greatest house cleaning project in American history; and it won't cost the taxpayers a single cent, indeed it will return cash that is rightfully theirs, tenfold. Class Dismissed!!

Anonymous said...

The seniority thing is such a bogus argument. Congressman Chris Carney brought back more pork and stimulus dollars than Paul Kanjorski, in his FIRST term.

Explain that one...

Kanjo got more pork when his buddy Jack Murtha was handling the piggy bank...well, that's not happening any more.

Anonymous said...

corey o'brien makes Chris Dougtery look like a man of the people. more elitist than anyone in the lac

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:10 Your right, Carney brought back more Stimulus money in his first term than Kanjo did in his. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant! THERE WAS NO STIMULUS PROGRAM DURING KANJOR'S FIRST TERM! Seniority is bogus? Good God, when will voter testing begin?

Hey Prof, do you really believe, even for one minuted that tax dollars will ever come back to the taxpayer? When the school lunch program and other programs are cut by the Conservative Republicans, that just translates to more money for Haliburton.

The Scranton Guardian said...

The people in Luzerne County know Kanjorski best. I think Kanjorski gets his lowest vote totals in Luzerne County. If Kanjorsli gets a challenger out of Lackawanna County, he is in big trouble.

Stephen Albert said...

Note to Anonymous #3...It's "Doherty", not "Dougtery". If you are going to slam the man, at least spell his name right.

As for Corey O'Brien, I have one single, simple question:


Why would I think this man is ANYTHING OTHER THAN a career-politician wanna-be? To be best of my knowledge, he has had basically no accomplishments to speak of as County Commissioner. Short of being a loyal Democrat and taking a nice photo why would anyone think he is qualified to be in Congress? Now I'm not advocating for Paul Kanjorski, but I am advocating for a reason to vote for this guy.

For me this could be a replay of the last time Kanjorski faced a credible opponent...I ended up voting for him (Kanjorski) simply because the alternative..."fear the great brown horde" Lou Barletta...was an even worse choice.

So if you're reading this Mr O'Brien, it's time to start proving that you're more than just a budding Bob Mellow or Joe McDade (i.e., career politician in training).

Anonymous said...

I'll take Kanjo and his old man seniority and you can take the freshman Congressman and we will see who brings home the bacon. Talking about getting rid of Kanjo is about the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Of course, Luzerne County voters, the same who gave us Petrilla, Urban Skrep and VanderSpend will probably vote against Kanjo. Valley with a heart but mini brain. I'm wondering if their dumb enough to retain Peter Paul who has an ego so large he refused to give Chester Murowski a solid vote when he was ego enough to vote for himself for President Judge. Can you imagine him doing such a thing?

Austin said...

I think that anonymous poster was saying that Rep. Carney got more pork in his first term than Rep. Kanjorski in the same term.

How does Rep. Kanjorski get pork? He only chairs one subcommittee and that is about financial markets. So I can see how he raises PAC money but not how he sways a ton of votes.

Anonymous said...

Austin, I think the comment by Anon 8:59 was making the point that taking home the bacon when the White House was throwing billions out the door should not be compared to Kanjo's first term when that type of money was not available. To me, that's a no brainer. It's like picking fruit off the ground rather than having to climb the tree. It's easy to gather the fruit when it's laying all over the place. Kanjo brings the money back to his District now strictly based on his seniority, and that has nothing to do with howmany sub-committee Chairs he holds. Congress is all about seniority and that's a fact of life. Voting out a senior COngressman just doesn't make sense ...... Unless of course, you're from Luzerne County.

Austin said...

Again, no one tried to compare Rep Carney's first term with that of Rep Kanjorski.

Secondly what if any subcommittee a congressman chairs or is part of has a lot to do with how much power they have their. This according to Rep Waxman's book on how congress works.

Your ranking and chairmanships are no longer based on seniority and determined by a secret ballot of the committee members.

So to say it is all about seniority further distorts the picture.

McGruff said...

Uhh..class please pay attention.

There is probably no one in the blogasphere who has studied Kanjo more than me. To those who make outlandish claims that his seniority is important to this district you are not factually accurate.

Here is one link that will tell the tale of his earmarks.

For his twenty five years in Congress he has earned the ranking of 264th out of 435 members for "bringing home the bacon" in 2008. For fiscal year 2009 he is climbed to 243rd out of 435. Now that is clout if I ever saw it.

Does anyone see Hazleton on that list? There is a 2 to 1 Democratic registration in Hazleton. So much for a Democratic Congressman looking out for his constituents. People didn't support Kanjo because of Barletta solely. They are very aware of his lack of concern for the City of Hazleton in general.

Another link

When you click on State and pick PA you will see that Kanjo is fourth from the bottom in Pennsylvania for bringing home money to his district out of 21 Carney was $8.8 million to Kanjo's $2.9 million. Murtha smoked him at $159 million.

Look at the chart on this page that shows his Power Ranking for earmarks from Roll Call. The green area for earmarks is almost non existent as are influence and legislation. His overall ranking is high due to his committee position.

To get the big picture of how little Kanjorski is bringing back to this district go to this link that lists all the Congressmen/women.

Don't get tired scrolling down to his name.

Kanjorsk has been working for "Kanjorskis." He is working the system. He is lucky to have an Ed Mitchell that can put more spin on press releases than the Earth has rotations.

You can tell me about the projects up in the Valley and Scranton. But what you don't see is that other areas gotta whole lot more. It isn't as important in what you see; the more important is what we missed.

As this election cycle unfolds there will be more about Kanjo I'm sure.