Pennsylvania: Hart Goes Negative in First TV Spot of Cycle

Posted February 6, 2008 at 6:30pm

After refusing to go negative in her 2006 television advertisements, former Rep. Melissa Hart (R) took a swing at freshman Rep. Jason Altmire (D) in her first television spots of the cycle. The ad aired during Super Tuesday election news programs on Fox News and CNN.

“Jason Altmire has been in Congress just 12 short months, but that’s all it’s taken to learn what a big tax-and-spender he really is,” an announcer says in the ad. “During that time, Altmire co-sponsored over $37 billion in government spending. But he didn’t stop there. Altmire also voted for hundreds of billions of dollars in higher taxes. Jason Altmire: Now we know how liberal he really is.”

Republican media consultant John Brabender, who produced the ad, said in an interview this week that more television spots will be released in the near future that will “further define how far left Jason Altmire is.”

Altmire defeated the three-term Congresswoman by a 4-point margin in their 2006 matchup. The suburban Pittsburgh district has leaned Republican in the past, giving President Bush 54 percent of the vote in 2004.

“Former Congresswoman Hart obviously didn’t get the message when voters fired her last cycle,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Carrie James said. “Her attempts at an extreme political makeover don’t change the fact that Pennsylvanians want change and she’s offering more of the same political lies and smears.”

But National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain said Altmire’s voting record will speak for itself.

“Jason Altmire’s abysmal tax-and-spend record is coming at a great cost to his Pennsylvania constituents at a time when voters are concerned about their economic futures,” Spain said. “Delivering reliable votes for [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [Calif.] and the Democratic leadership comes at a political cost as well and Jason Altmire is finding that out the hard way.”

Anti-Immigration Mayor Set to Take On Kanjorski

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta (R) is set to announce his bid for Congress today, according to local news reports. Barletta, who gained national attention for enacting strict illegal immigration policies in his town, will face off against Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D).

A Republican source in Washington, D.C., confirmed that Barletta would be announcing his plans to run.

This would be the second time Barletta has faced the 12-term incumbent. Their first matchup occurred in 2002, when Kanjorski defeated Barletta 56 percent to 42 percent.

Barletta told The (Scranton) Times-Tribune on Tuesday that he had not made a decision yet. The Pennsylvania filing deadline is just five days away, on Feb. 12.

“I’m not going to tell you I’m going to run,” Barletta told the newspaper. “I’m going to tell you I’m going to make a decision about my political future by week’s end.”

Barletta had enough bipartisan support in his hometown to earn both the Democratic and Republican nominations for his mayoral re-election campaign this past November. In the 2004 presidential election, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) carried the northeastern Pennsylvania district, which includes Scranton, with 53 percent of the vote.
— Shira Toeplitz