Pennsylvania: Clinton Aides Canceled Our Meeting, Barletta says

Posted April 9, 2008 at 6:50pm

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta (R), who is challenging 12-term Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D), said that advisers to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D) economic policy team abruptly canceled a scheduled meeting with him on their visit Wednesday to his town.

Barletta’s campaign alleges that a half-hour before three Clinton advisers were supposed to arrive in Hazleton, the aides told the mayor’s campaign that they could no longer attend their previously scheduled meeting.

A spokesman for Clinton’s Pennsylvania operation, Mark Nevins, said the economic team was a group of volunteers who have worked with the Senator in an official New York capacity and serve as her economic policy advocates.

“We had some anxious, excited volunteers who went a little too far down the road,” Nevins said. “They’re not from Pennsylvania, and they don’t know the personalities here and they scheduled a meeting they should not have.”

Nevins said that as soon as the campaign found out about the meeting, it was canceled.

“We are 150 percent behind Congressman Kanjorski and are great supporters of him and all the work he’s done for that Congressional district … and we’re not going to let the Barletta campaign turn this into some political shenanigans,” Nevins said.

Kanjorski, who defeated Barletta by 14 points in 2002, has endorsed Clinton in her presidential bid.

“I’ve extended an invitation to all three presidential candidates to come to Hazleton and learn about issues that are important to voters here,” Barletta said in a statement. “I certainly hope partisan politics and campaigning did not come into play here.”

Barletta has invited all of the presidential candidates, regardless of party, to come to Hazleton for a discussion. Earlier this month, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) declined Barletta’s offer, citing scheduling restraints.

Although Barletta is a Republican, Democrats in the eastern Pennsylvania town also nominated him as their candidate for mayor last November. He has become nationally known for the stringent anti-immigration policies he has implemented in the town.

Second GOPer Trips Millionaires Provision

A second candidate has surpassed the “Millionaires’ Amendment” threshold in the GOP primary to replace Rep. John Peterson (R), who is retiring. Financial consultant Derek Walker (R) has spent $365,000 of his own money to date for the April 22 primary.

Walker joined businessman Matt Shaner (R) in triggering the campaign finance amendment. Shaner has put in a whopping $1.2 million of his own funds in the GOP primary, eclipsing almost every other self-funded candidate in the nation.

Walker and Shaner are just two of nine Republicans running the primary in the solidly GOP district. Democrats also have put up three candidates in the race, though the district traditionally votes Republican.

— Shira Toeplitz