I still say this may be the big surprise on election night.
Vote in the poll on the sidebar. Remember the question is who do you think will win not who you are voting for.
Like many people I dismissed Gene Stilp's chances in the Democratic primary against Bill Vinsko. He is known as the guy with the big pig and other stunts and I didn't take him seriously. Then I talked to him for an hour at the Spring Blogfest and found out that he came close to winning a state house seat in the very Republican year of 2010.
The conventional wisdom holds that Gene doesn’t have a prayer against
Republican incumbent, Lou Barletta, but conventional wisdom may not
apply to Gene Stilp.
Gene will be running in the 11th Congressional district, newly
configured to ensure Barletta’s reelection. The Republican power brokers
who drew that map certainly anticipated that Barletta would be running
against a conventional Democrat, but Gene is anything but a conventional
Gene appeals to voters across party lines. He has established a solid
reputation as a reformer bent on improving government, holding
officeholder accountable for their actions and fearlessly exposing
corruption....Barletta is practically unknown in the Dauphin/Cumberland/Perry part of
the 11th, and many people question his understanding of the politics,
the culture or the needs of their communities...
Incidentally, the registered voters in the new 11th are 44% GOP, 43% DEM and 12% IND.
Gene has HUGE appeal with the IND voters, and GOP voters below Luzerne County.
In an interview Barletta didn't sound like he likes his new job.
Among the many criticisms leveled by citizens at Congress is that
bipartisanship has caused stalemate in the House and Senate. The popular
opinion is that much is said and discussed by the legislators but
little comes of it.
"I'm just as frustrated as the average citizen with the gridlock," Barletta said.
first-term congressman said he's sought for and found opportunities to
find common ground among both Republicans and Democrats, even bucking
party leadership on at least one occasion.
He found a Democrat to
co-sponsor transportation legislation and sought Democrats' support to
revamp relief funding in the wake of a presidentially declared natural
disaster...."For me, that's dysfunctional. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or
Republican, we still have a responsibility to do the business of the
American people," he says. "You can have disagreements with these bills,
but I believe all the Senate should have the opportunity to vote on it,
debate it, send it back to the House and maybe we could amend it. We
could see where there's common ground."
There is more to being a Congressman than yelling about immigration.
53 minutes ago