PA-05: McCracken for Congress — Weekly Update — August 3, 2008

White House Announces Bush Administration to Leave a Record Budget Deficit of $482 Billion.

Since January when we began our campaign for the 5th District seat in the US Congress, I’ve consistently stressed that my biggest concern is the fiscal mess that has happened in Washington.  This week, White House officials admitted the Bush administration would leave office in January 2009 with a record budget deficit sitting on the books of $482 BILLION.   This record $482 billion deficit is coupled with a record debt of $9.5 trillion.  

On January 20th, 2001, when George W. Bush was sworn in to his first term in office and the Republican Party had control of both houses of Congress, the United States government had a record budget surplus, our economy was in a period of record expansion and the national debt was being paid down.  In fact, if the Bush administration would have continued the fiscally responsible polices from the 90’s by continuing to grow the surplus and pay down the debt, the federal debt could have been retired by 2013.

It is all fantasy now thanks to the irresponsible fiscal policies of the last 8 years, but, imagine what we could have done in the United States after the debt was paid off in 2013.  Our country would have had a surplus of funds that we could have invested in a complete rebuild of our infrastructure to make it ready for the next century,  We could have made a real effort at addressing the health care crisis because funds would have been available.   We could have invested in updating and upgrading our military and providing for our veterans.  We could have had a real investment to fix our public education system.  All these possibilities – GONE.

In the 90’s, difficult decisions were made and sound fiscal policies were put in place by the federal government.  These decisions were made in a bipartisan manner with a Democratic administration in the White House and the Republicans in control of Congress the second half of the decade.   Rather than sticking with sound logic in support of a fiscally strong government, Republicans in Congress joined with George W. Bush in the early days of his administration and decided that short term gratification from across the board tax cuts, with the overwhelming majority directed towards the top 2% income levels, was more important than the long term fiscal and financial security of the federal government.

In the 5th District race, voters will have the decision to choose between more of the same fiscal irresponsibility as my opponent continues to voice his strong support for the Bush tax cuts.  Or, they can choose something better because I believe we must show the courage and responsibility to clean up this fiscal mess once and for all.  It won’t be easy in the short run, but, if we make the commitment to stick to strong fiscal policies, we can finally invest in the things we need to in order to make the lives of our citizens better and our country more secure.  

Campaign Receives Endorsement from Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

I am pleased and excited to announce that our campaign has received a letter from the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO endorsing my candidacy.   I am truly honored that we have received this important endorsement as it represents support from working men and women, not only in the 5th district, but from throughout Pennsylvania working for our cause.  

In announcing the list of endorsed candidates in a press release posted on, Bill George, President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO said “These candidates have proven themselves to be the friends and supporters of working families.  They understand that workers are struggling in this economy with stagnant wages, soaring prices for health care, gas and food.  They advocate and support an agenda that mirrors the priorities of the labor movement.  We are confident that they will put this country back on track toward prosperity and opportunity for all not the few.”.

The letter from the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO concluded with the positive exclamation “Congratulations on Labor’s endorsement!  On to Victory!”.

Major Fundraising Event for DuBois area / Elk and Jefferson Counties:

Campaign Chairman Henry Guthrie and his wife Molly have finalized plans for a McCracken for Congress fundraising event to be held Friday August 15th at the Lion’s Club Sky Lodge in DuBois.  This is going to be a fun filled evening with entertainment from the Moore Brother’s Band and a Chicken BBQ dinner.  We are inviting several local and state level elected officials.  Tickets for the event are $20.  We are also looking for sponsor level support for the event for a donation of $150 or more.  Please contact Henry or Molly at 371-1892 or 577-2398 for ticket information.   Also we would greatly appreciate it if you could take 10 or more tickets and sell them.

BBQ Fundraiser

Recap of the Past Week:

The majority of the past week was spent working close to home at the Clearfield County Fair.  The response from people visiting the Democratic booth was tremendous.  I was also encouraged by the positive comments and remarks that we received from people interested in the Obama campaign.  I have to recognize the people who put in the time and effort to make the booth available for the week.  Specific recognition goes to County Chair John Sughrue, Sue Lemmo and Terry Noble for leading the effort over the past months to have the booth.   Also, Patrick Yingling was at the booth several nights, County Controller Claudia Read worked for many weeks to schedule people to work the booth and Rodger Baumgardner was on hand every evening to make sure the booth was properly secured at closing time.

Tuesday evening I made a trip to Potter County to spend the evening working with County Chair Norma Nichols in the Democratic booth at the Potter County Fair.  It was a very positive visit and I made contact with many voters from Potter, McKean and Tioga counties.

Potter County Fair

On Friday evening, I traveled to St. Marys for the Elk County Democratic Picnic.  Media Advisor Diane Kesner traveled with me to shoot some footage that we will use later in commercials for the campaign.  The event had a great turnout with the highlight of the evening coming from a rousing speech given by Rep. Dan Surra who talked about the problems facing our region, state and country.  Rep. Surra made it clear that this is a key election in the history of our country and he called on everyone to get involved to elect the candidates who will work to solve the problems.  State senate candidate Don Hilliard also gave a tremendous speech addressing the important issues in his race.  

On Saturday, Kelly, Amanda and I made a trip to Juniata County to appear in the parade for the Fayette carnival in McAlisterville.  While this was a small parade, it was an important event for the campaign.  Fayette Township is the only municipality in Juniata County that is part of the 5th District.  Juniata County Commissioner Teresa O’Neal has been working with me to make sure our campaign has a presence in Juniata County.   Although Juniata County only has a very small portion in the 5th District, it is important to me that we include them on our campaign schedule.

Scheduled Events for the Upcoming Week:

Monday — Clinton County Fair — 6 PM

Tuesday — Meeting with Sierra Club — State College

Wednesday — Elk County Fair — 6 PM

Thursday — Sykesville Fair — 6 PM

Friday — Tentative — Venango Co. Fair

Saturday — Multiple Events Subject to Change — Clinton County Fair Parade / McKean Co. Fair / Warren Co. Fair

Sunday — Potter / Cameron County Joint Democratic Picnic — Austin PA


We now have campaign materials available!  Don’t forget to pick up your magnetic bumper sticker or campaign yard sign.

Mark B. McCracken

Your Candidate For Congress


This diary is cross-posted at McCracken’s campaign blog, PA’s Blue Fifth

Mark McCracken for Congress

ActBlue page

OR-SEN: Novick Sweeps Portland Paper Endorsements

There are three Portland-based, general circulation newspapers: The Oregonian, The Willamette Week, and the Portland Mercury*. The number of times they've all endorsed the same candidate for a major office recently can probably be counted on one hand (or less!), but when it comes to the Democratic nomination for Senate, they're in perfect harmony: they want the guy with the hook.

We covered The O's big Sunday endorsement of Steve; let's add in the others. First, Willamette Week, whose nod may certainly have been less of a surprise than that from the House of Stickel, but which comes on the heels of a joint endorsement interview Novick's critics–and even some supporters–mark as his low moment of the campaign. The ed board may or may not have liked Novick's answers on the peripheral questions of the race, but they liked Merkley's issue positions even less, making note of three separate areas of "concern."

In the end, the editors appear happily surprised to have Novick exceed their expectations to become a legitimate, solid candidate with the potential for greatness:

Let’s be clear. Back in January 2007, Novick was little more than a placeholder. Novick has a rapier wit, a winning affinity for sports references and an impressive behind-the-scenes résumé working for worthy causes. But Oregonians were waiting for another, more credible Democratic challenger to Smith, a telegenic senator who’s raised boatloads of cash and worked to style himself in the moderate image of past Republican icons such as Mark Hatfield, Bob Packwood and Tom McCall. We all thought that other person would come along.

We were hotly divided between the fun, speak-his-mind insurgent who calls to mind the late Sen. Paul Wellstone and the impassive Merkley, who calls to mind the widely respected Sen. Al Gore—the wooden version, before he became as steaming as the planet.

In the end, we rallied around Novick because we see a capacity for a refreshing independence and an unwavering willingness to tackle our toughest issues, like providing universal health care and ending the war in Iraq. We recognize, too, he could be a spectacular failure, a quotable firebrand for the left who is both alienating and alienated. Our hope is he commits himself to becoming the Senate’s best workhorse before shooting for the ranks of Sunday talk-show showhorse. Novick, please play nice.

 {the Merc's endorsement, and even bigger swipe at Merkley, below}  

 Near the bottom of a long list of City endorsees, in today's issue The Merc gets to the statewide races and makes their call for Senate:

We've gone back and forth on this endorsement for weeks. Were we choosing the candidate who would make the best US Senator, or were we picking the one best suited to topple formidable Republican Gordon Smith—someone who'd put up a better fight, even if they weren't ultimately successful?  

Finally, we realized that attorney and political activist Steve Novick is the best choice on both counts. Not only will he give Smith the toughest challenge—just look at the momentum he's got against Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley, a solid political leader, and the guy plenty of Democrats assumed would be coronated as the nominee—but assuming he wins in November (and we're starting to believe he can), we're excited to see what he'd do in DC.

At first, we thought his campaign was heavy on schtick—relying on viral ads highlighting Novick's steel hook prosthetic left hand—and short on evidence that Novick would be an effective representative for Oregon. But as the campaign has heated up, we're pleased to see that Novick's record on things like taking on the Oregon Lottery Commission to fight for more school funding has translated well to federal policy issues—we have no doubt that Novick will be a strong advocate to end the war, create universal health care, and help the working class.

The brainy Novick's penchant for saying exactly what's on his mind has gotten him in trouble a few times, but it's apparent that he's learning to temper that impulse. That said, he'll continue to do things differently, in a way that makes you wonder why more politicians don't follow his lead. Meanwhile, his opponents like Candy Neville and Jeff Merkley are virtually on the same page when it comes to agendas and policy positions. Smith, however, would trounce Neville. While Merkley would likely be a solid senator, given his track record leading Democrats in Salem, we're just not that into him. Vote for Novick. [emph me]

Ouch. Leave it to the Merc to put out there as plainly as possible: Jeff Merkley just does not inspire many people, or make them believe that he has the potential for greatness. This is an election to get excited about making real change, and Merkley is coming up short. 

What's the practical value of these endorsements? Hard to say, although there is certainly some kind of benefit to having all three major papers backing the same guy (especially, as I said above, when they generally don't agree). Veteran OR politico Charlie Burr thinks he has an idea of their impact, however, and he states it in comments at BlueOregon:

The Mercury endorsements will matter more than usual this year for the same reason WWeek's will: 30,000 new voters registered by the Oregon Obama campaign. The Obama campaign may have registered them, but these new voters will still be looking for additional cues for other races on their ballots.


 You do have to figure that particularly with these latest two, the demographic skews towards younger voters. And with a lot more younger voters in the mix who cannot WAIT to vote in this primary, there's no question that seeing Novick's name downticket in the endorsement will help shade some of those folks–who may be so jazzed about the Pres race that they haven't been following some others–towards Steve. Nothing wrong with that!








*The Portland Tribune obviously exists as well, but for the purposes of endorsement the Pamplin ownership group makes a blanket call for all its papers in the area; and while there are other papers publishing in Portland, they are aimed at specific rather than general audiences.

PA-05: McCracken for Congress – Progress Report – Sen. Durbin in Clearfield!


The headline says it all as it was a very busy and sometimes hectic week.  I started out the week Sunday and Monday in Harrisburg where I was attending the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania spring conference.   I really wish I could have been in State College to see Senator Barack Obama’s historic visit to Penn State but, I had already scheduled to attend the CCAP conference several weeks ago.   I’ve heard from people who attended and they were all still buzzing late in the week from the rally.

I left Harrisburg Monday afternoon to attend the Lycoming County Democratic Dinner in Williamsport on Monday evening.   Lycoming County Chair Jessie Bloom put together a fantastic event that was so well attended they filled up 2 rooms with Democrats who are excited about 2008.  

Lycoming County is split between the 5th and the 10th congressional districts.  As I was working the rooms, I shook hands with one gentleman who apologized and said “sorry, you just wasted a handshake, I’m from the 10th district”.  I countered back to him, “No, it wasn’t wasted, if I met a Democrat who is going to be working to get Democrats elected in 2008 that was good enough for me”.  All the candidates in attendance got the chance to speak and Auditor General Jack Wagner was the keynote speaker for the evening.

Tuesday brought 2 events in Centre County with an afternoon forum for the 5th District Democratic candidates at the Foxdale Retirement Community in State College.  Art Goldschmidt moderated the event and the residents asked many important questions.  

Then it was on to Bellefonte for a candidate’s forum with the 3 Democratic candidates taking center stage from 6:30 to 7:30 with the Republicans getting their chance from 8:00 to 9:30.

Wednesday brought an early morning trip to Clarion for legislative breakfast sponsored by the Clarion Chamber of Commerce.   This event had 16 candidates, 5 for the PA House seat being vacated by Rep. Fred McIllhatten and 11 of the 12 candidates for the 5th District seat.   Wednesday evening had us back in Centre County for the League of Women Voters debate.  Again, the Democratic candidates went first from 7:00 to 8:00 with the Republican candidates following.  Is it wrong to think the Republican candidates had viewers tuning out in favor of American Idol both nights?

Also on Wednesday, we released the news that both the IBEW Local #5 and the Ironworkers Local #772 have endorsed my candidacy.   It is important to me that we get endorsements from organizations that represent the hard working people of the 5th Congressional District.

You can read the endorsement letters here!

Thursday we had the Jefferson County Democratic spring banquet in Reynoldsville followed by a candidate forum for the Democratic candidates at the IBEW building in Clearfield.

Friday brought an important visitor to Clearfield County as US Senator Richard Durbin, the Assistant Majority Leader (also known as the Majority Whip), stopped in Clearfield and DuBois to support the Obama for President campaign.  It really is an exciting time for Democrats in central Pennsylvania as we are getting real attention from the presidential campaigns for the first time in my lifetime.

The longest day of the week was Saturday.  I was up a 5:15 AM to drive to Warren for a Democratic breakfast at 9:00 AM.  I found my theme that communities in the 5th district share many similarities took a new twist on Saturday morning.  The Clearfield County Courthouse sets at the corner of Second and Market streets and, believe it or not, the building where the Warren County breakfast was held was on the corner of Second and Market streets.  I pointed this coincidence out and the crowd got a chuckle from my observation.  I shared the microphone with 3 of the candidates running for the 3rd congressional district along with fellow 5th district candidate Rick Vilello.  We also heard from Jeff Eggleston for the Obama campaign and Congressman Marion Berry for the Clinton campaign.

Then it was on to Clarion for a League of Women Voters debate at Clarion University at 2 PM.  Rick Vilello and I shared the stage with 7 of the 9 Republican candidates for a joint debate.  Rick and I did the Democratic party proud as we addressed the issues important to the hard working people of the district.  The event concluded with a brief verbal skirmish between 2 of the Republican candidates during the closing statements.  I was very pleased when the Clarion County Democratic Chairman and several people in the audience came up and congratulated both of the Democratic candidates for our performances.

Saturday ended in Ridgway with the Elk County Democratic Spring Banquet.  Kelly joined me in Ridgway to hear 2 keynote speakers, Congressman Marion Berry representing the Clinton campaign and Jay Paterno representing the Obama campaign.  And, I can’t forget to mention that Victor Ordonez represented the campaign in Mifflin County for their spring dinner on Saturday evening.  A big thank you to Victor for making the trip to Lewistown.  It would have been impossible to do the debate in Clarion and also make it to Lewistown.

It was a long day to end a long week but I feel our campaign made great progress over the last 7 days.  The only downside to this is the reality that campaigning in such a large district is taking a toll on the family life.  Kelly and I knew what we were getting into back in January but it is difficult now that we are in the middle of the campaign.  April 22nd is coming fast and it will be nice once the outcome is known.  Either we will be campaigning through November or life will settle back down.

Mark B. McCracken

Your Candidate for Congress


This diary is cross-posted at McCracken’s campaign blog, PA’s Blue Fifth

Mark McCracken for Congress

ActBlue page


Contact: Victor M. Ordonez




Electrical Workers” and Iron Workers” Union Endorses McCracken Campaign

Mark B. McCracken, Democratic candidate for United States House of Representatives in the 5th Congressional District of Pennsylvania is proud to announce that he has received the endorsements from the 2,760 plus members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union #5 and the 263 member International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers Local Union #772.

In receiving the endorsement of these important labor organizations, Mr. McCracken stated “I am honored to have my candidacy endorsed by two organizations that represent the working people of Pennsylvania.  I know firsthand the struggles our working class face and I plan on being a strong voice in Washington for the people who work hard everyday, but lack the representation at the federal level they deserve.”

During McCracken”s tenure as a Clearfield County Commissioner, he has worked to establish a working relationship with representatives of organized labor within Clearfield County to keep them advised on economic development projects.  In endorsing McCracken”s candidacy, Michael Dunleavy, Business Manager for IBEW Local #5 wrote “I am convinced that your viewpoints and stance on issues that concern not only organized labor, but the well-being of all working Pennsylvanians are sound.  Your inclusion of labor as part of the process of economic development and job creation is commendable.  To us, your background and professional experience makes your candidacy a sound investment.”

These labor endorsements offer a significant boost to the candidacy of Mark B. McCracken to be the next congressman for the 5th congressional district.  The endorsements by the IBEW and the Iron Workers offer positive proof of the pro-active and involved leader that Mark B. McCracken is as a county commissioner which is the same effort he will put forth as a member of Congress.


If you”d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Mr. Mark B. McCracken, please email either or the Media & Policy Advisor at


You can read the endorsement letters here!


This diary is cross-posted at McCracken’s campaign blog, PA’s Blue Fifth

Mark McCracken for Congress

ActBlue page

PA-05 – McCracken for Congress – Progress Report – 3/6/2008

This week, I came across the saying “Before you try to tell someone how much know, show them how much you care.” I think that sums up what every political candidate should do when trying to connect with voters.

Early last week, I spoke with a family in DuBois about my campaign and what they felt was the biggest problem they are facing. Without hesitation, the mother said “Mark, the rising cost of gas and heating oil is making it tough on my family.”. Another person told me when we talked about the stimulus checks that Washington will be sending out “I hope I get mine soon, I need another tank of oil to get through the cold months.”.

When you hear these two stories, do you think Washington cares and understands? Members of Congress touted when the stimulus package was passed “we’re giving back money to the people so they can go out and buy something”. The reality is that many people will use the funds to pay off existing debt or buy basic necessities. And, if everyone in Washington would be honest, the stimulus package was the incumbent members of Congress sending you a check in an election year so you’ll remember them in November.


I am encouraged to hear from people that they are concerned about the issues I’m talking about. People are telling me they are tired of the federal government spending beyond its means and running up debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay for. Regardless of political affiliation, citizens in the 5th district want fiscal responsibility. I am also hearing that people want a congressman who knows north central Pennsylvania and will deal with the problems of the region.

$350,000 SPENT IN 29 DAYS!!!!

The Centre Daily Times reported today that one of the Republican candidates has spent $350,000 in just 29 days of the campaign. That amounts to $12,068.96 dollars per day. Let’s put this into perspective, a person working at the current federal minimum wage of $5.85 per hour x 40 hours a week x 52 weeks in a year = $12,168 before taxes. Is this the type of person you want for your next congressman?


Our campaign was proud to announce the following endorsements during this past week: Keith Bierly former 4 term Centre County Commissioner, Mike Savage Rush Township Supervisor (Centre County), Jeff Pisarcik current second term Jefferson County Commissioner and Raymond Snyder former Mifflin County Commissioner.


The McCracken for Congress committee is planning a fundraising dinner in DuBois on Wednesday, March 19th. If you are interested in attending and have not received an invitation, provide your mailing address via email to Also, please tell your friends about our campaign and encourage them to visit our webpage http://www.mccrackenforcongres… where they can find a link to contribute to the campaign online via ActBlue.


We welcome all questions from the progressive blogosphere.  We feel we are in tune with the expectations of what kind of Congressman we need.  Mark has the experience and desire to answer questions from 5th District residents and interested parties.


I want to thank everyone who sent along condolences on the passing of my father Blair McCracken. He was a lifelong, working man’s Democrat who fought for his country in World War II and was always a big part of my political campaigns. When I spoke with him in January and asked his advice about running for Congress, he paused for a few seconds, pointed his finger at me and said “whatever you do, if you get to Washington, don’t let them change you.”. That was the last advice he gave me and I won’t forget it.

Mark B. McCracken

Your Candidate For Congress

McCracken for Congress – PA 05 Update

Mark B. McCracken, Democratic candidate for PA’s 5th District, addressed the Jefferson County Democratic Committee last night. He discussed a major issue facing the 5th District: fiscal responsibility. He specifically addressed the upcoming stimulus plan.

His points were that while it may seem that the government is handing out free money, most Americans will use this money to pay down debt, not go on massive shopping sprees. He questioned where the money was coming from and how it would affect the massive debt the government is carrying. He stressed that simply printing money isn’t the solution and will only deepen the hole.

Mark also connected this issue with our Middle East strategy, or lack thereof. He points out that we have now spent 3/4 of a TRILLION dollars on this war ($750,000,000,000). Yet we still find ways to give tax breaks to the rich and subsidies to the oil industry. People of the 5th District end up paying $100+ per barrel in oil and over $3.00 at the pump to give money to a business enjoying record profits.

On an additional note, Mark McCracken continues to rack up endorsements from elected officials. Keith Bierly, a former four term Centre County Commissioner, supports McCracken and states “Mark is making decisions every day that affect the lives of our citizens. He knows the people and the issues and realizes that health care, job opportunities, and alternative sources of energy are the three most important issues facing the citizens of this district.

Jeff Pisarcik, a current Jefferson County Commissioner, adds “I’m supporting Mark McCracken for Congressman of the 5th District because I believe that these positions should be earned and not given to people because of their name or because they have money and buy their position. Mark is a sitting commissioner in his second term and in the past has sat on other important boards. He is the only qualified person for the job. Mark understands what the 5th District needs and understands the aches and pains on those living in the 5th District because he lives with it everyday in his job.”

I’m Proud to Have Labor’s Support in TX-10

I am proud to have received the enthusiastic endorsement of the Texas AFL-CIO and other Labor groups representing more than 230,000 working men and women across the state.

Every progressive movement in our nation’s modern history has come about because of Organized Labor’s courage and steadfast refusal to take its eye off the ball — protecting the health and well-being of the great American middle class.

From civil rights to voting rights, from women’s rights to workers’ rights, from consumer protection to environmental protection, Labor has moved us forward and made us the economic and moral force we are.

The 8-hour day, the 40-hour week, maternity leave, the right to take time off to care for a loved one — all of it is a direct result of labor’s willingness to fight for the ordinary families who work hard, play by the rules, and deserve an equal opportunity to live a life of dignity.

At this time in our history, when each of these rights is under sustained attack, Labor’s endorsement is especially meaningful.

Let’s make it central to our campaign to make a fresh start, to reignite the spirit and recapture the vitality of a nation that used to export its values, not just its jobs.

On March 4, I hope you will take advantage of another right Labor has given us — time off to vote.