The fur sure has been flying in the Pennsylvania 11th Congressional District race between incumbent Democrat Paul Kanjorski and Republican challenger Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta and it's only July.
The Republicans smell blood in the water after Kanjo polled only 49% in the primary against a underfunded challenger and a fringe candidate who got 17%. If that 3rd name wasn't on the ballot I may not be writting this post and we would be discussing Corey O'Brien's fundraising/poll numbers, etc. Add in the history of the President's Party losing seats in the mid-terms during his first term
Since then Kanjo has said some things that gave ammunition to his opponents such as the "minorities and defective" flap that was taken way out of context and his decision to conduct telephone town halls instead of the real thing then saying “We will do everything we can to meet with people, but I’m not going to set myself up for, you know, nuts to hit me with a camera.” In 2008 his campaign hired a guy with a video camera to follow around Barletta hoping to catch a Macca Moment so he knows the danger of the video/internet age.
The Kanjorski camp has been on the attack the last few days about Barletta's management of Hazleton's pension plan and the unemployment rate in the city.
"Makes you wonder how much more the people of Hazleton can take. They have the highest unemployment rate in the state, skyrocketing city taxes and fees, reduced services, arguably polluted sludge being dumped in their landfill, broken down infrastructure and now, unfunded pensions for their workers. Lou is a one man wrecking crew," Ed Mitchell, Kanjorski campaign spokesman, said.
This brought a furious response from Barletta spokesman Shawn Kelly:
Once again, the Kanjorski campaign is stretching the facts in a desperate bid to stay in power.
Kanjorski spokesman Ed Mitchell lied to you about the City of Hazleton’s pension fund. Mitchell said Tuesday: "Other cities have pension problems, but like the jobless rate, Hazleton's is the worst.”
Here’s what the Scranton Times published today:
“Scranton, compared to cities of similar size, has one of the most poorly funded pension plans in the state, the report states, while 55 percent of pension systems in the region are in some form of distressed status. … Scranton has $64.3 million in its pension fund, but obligations of twice that, $138 million, for a funding ratio of 47 percent. Any funding ratio under 50 percent is deemed severely distressed by the Public Employee Retirement Commission.” (“State: 55 percent of NEPA municipal pensions distressed,” Scranton Times, July 28, 2010)
Hazleton’s funding ratio, for comparison, is 52 percent, and the city is considered “moderately distressed” by the state. (“Pa.: 28 pension plans distressed,” Times Leader, July 27, 2010) ...
Mitchell continues to lie on behalf of his desperate boss, and reporters continue to report their bogus claims as fact.
I know it’s easy to get drawn in by the lies of Kanjorski and his spokesman. Kanjorski and his Mitchell-led spin machine are getting incredibly desperate.