Right wing Hazleton mayor running against Kanjorski in PA-11

It looks as if Republicans finally got the candidate they wanted to run against Paul Kanjorski in PA-11, the right wing mayor of Hazleton, Lou Barletta.  Barletta is known as the guy who as mayor passed all kinds of anti-immigrant measures.  He ran for Congress against Kanjorski in 2002 and lost by 14%.  

This is a district that John Kerry carried by a healthy 53%-47% margin and Al Gore carried it by an even bigger 54%-43%.  The Republican legislature drew the district to be a safe Democratic district in order to make PA-10 and PA-15 more Republican.  They did this by removing heavily Republican rural areas and adding in a heavily Democratic slice of Lackawanna county.

I have to say that I am somewhat frustrated that more Democratic held seats seem to be coming into play.  If we were to lose seats in 2008 while winning the White House, it would be a big black eye for the new Democratic President elect, likely making it impossible to pass anything.  We need to keep this seat and all we need to do to keep it is make sure voters in the district vote straight ticket as this is a district that any Democratic candidate for President will carry.  

Is Northup getting ready to challenge Yarmuth in KY-03?

It looks as if former Rep. Ann Northup who held the strongly Democratic KY-03 from 1996 until she was defeated by Yarmuth in 2006, may run again now that the GOP’s top recruit, federal prosecutor Erwin Roberts has dropped out of the race.  http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmsp…

I am skeptical of Northup’s ability to win this district after her amazing 13% loss to the scandal tarred Ernie Fletcher in the gubernatorial primary.  Add to that the fact that even after she represented the district for a decade, a partisan NRCC poll still has her trailing Yarmuth 47%-49%, which means after partisan adjustments she probably trails 43%-53% in reality.  http://www.campaigndiaries.com/  She also doesn’t get the usual incumbent rule since she held the district as recently as two years ago.  

I should also point out that this is the only district in the state that John Kerry managed to carry in 2004 and this is even more impressive since he was killed statewide by 21%.  Any Democratic nominee would carry this district in 2008 and that will help Yarmuth greatly since incumbents usually run ahead of their national ticket.  Still, I would continue to watch this race.  If Northup gets in, what looked like an easy hold gets much tougher.