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Pennsylvania: DCCC Trying to Link Barletta With Duke, Klan

Former Ku Klux Klan leader and Louisiana statewide candidate David Duke recently made what some Democrats called an endorsement of Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta’s (R) Congressional bid. Duke’s Web site,, posted Barletta’s Congressional campaign announcement and included a preamble on his candidacy.

“With the presidential ‘choices’ pared down to Hillary, Obama and ‘Insane’ John McCain, European Americans face an unmitigated disaster,” the Web site read. “Getting tough patriots like Lou Barletta elected is absolutely key to staving off four years of sustained attack on our interests.”

Democrats called the posting an endorsement, though Duke did not respond to an e-mail request this week seeking clarification. The entry, dated Feb. 9, is followed by a copy of Barletta’s announcement news release.

Barletta, known for his tough anti- immigration policies in the northeastern Pennsylvania town he leads, announced his candidacy earlier this month. He faces longtime Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D) in their second matchup.

“It’s been two weeks since this endorsement and Lou Barletta has yet to repudiate David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan,” said DCCC Communications Director Jennifer Crider. “David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan’s values are out of step with hardworking Pennsylvanians. Will National Republicans continue to enthusiastically support a candidate who refuses to reject anti-American hate mongers like David Duke?”

Barletta campaign spokesman David Millner said the campaign does not associate with Duke or his policies, adding that the DCCC has “sunk to a new low” by bringing Duke’s statements to the media’s attention.

“We have no connection with David Duke,” Millner said. “We don’t share any of his philosophies.”

National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Ken Spain chastised the DCCC for associating Barletta with the former Louisiana state representative.

“It’s unconscionable for the DCCC to appeal to the very worst of human nature in an effort to besmirch the good name of Lou Barletta, who has earned the trust and support of the overwhelming majority of both Democrats and Republicans in the city of Hazleton,” he said. “They ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

Challenger Disqualified, Murtha Now Unopposed

Rep. John Murtha (D) will likely coast to his 19th term after his only challenger was taken off the ballot. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that former Army officer Bill Russell (R) was removed from the ballot after a state judge ruled he did not have enough signatures on his nominating petitions to run.

Russell’s petitions reportedly had 993 valid signatures, just seven short of the required number. Russell moved from Washington, D.C., to Johnstown specifically to challenge Murtha.

“I think Mike Huckabee said it best when he said if you can’t stand the sight of your own blood, buy a ticket and sit in the stands,” Russell told the AP. “Statistically, we made it by the skin of our teeth and we knew we were vulnerable.”

The southwestern Pennsylvania district has not given the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense chairman less than 58 percent of the vote except for his first election in 1974. Washington County Commissioner Diane Irey (R) challenged Murtha in 2006, but could not garner more than 39 percent of the vote.
— Shira Toeplitz

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