Carney could be planning comeback
BY BORYS KRAWCZENIUK, Times-Shamrock Writer
Five years ago, few observers thought a Democratic political science professor could knock off a four-term Republican congressman well-connected to President George W. Bush in a majority Republican congressional district.
Chris Carney proved them wrong, defeating Don Sherwood by 6 percentage points to win the 10th Congressional District seat.
Carney lost his re-election bid last year, but might soon be out to prove new doubters wrong.
In an email from his congressional campaign before the Nov. 8 election, Carney urged people to vote, but hinted at a comeback by soliciting contributions with a link to a website that helps Democrats across the country raise money for campaigns. The email does not mention a run for Congress or the man who defeated him, U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-10, Lycoming Twp.
“Over the past year, I have been traveling the region and talking to folks about how we can get our area and our nation working again,” Carney said. “People seem to agree on the need for reasonable leadership. They want jobs. They want good schools. They want safe neighborhoods. And they don’t want extreme partisan politics obstructing these goals.”
The email, signed by Carney, focuses on Washington partisanship.
“It actually seems pretty simple. Work hard, work together and keep the focus on our community, our nation, and our shared future. For too long we have been pulled apart by partisanship when now, more than ever, the nation needs the best ideas and talents from everyone,” he wrote. “The values that led me to serve in the Navy Reserve are the very values we all share – nation before self. It is why I will always look for ways to serve our community.”
In a postscript, he invites people to email or meet with him so he can “hear (their) news and ideas” and asks them for financial support for “reasonable, responsible leadership in Northeast and Central Pennsylvania.” The 10th District includes both areas.
Efforts to reach Carney, 52, of Dimock Twp., were unsuccessful. In the spring, he took a job as director of homeland security and policy strategy for BAE Systems inVirginia. The company has a Jessup plant that makes flak vests and combat helmets.
He has previously said, “Nothing has been ruled out, nothing has been ruled in” when asked if plans an attempted comeback.
Efforts to reach Marino were also unsuccessful.
Jason Fitzgerald, Marino’s campaign manager, said the congressman “is looking forward to a spirited campaign where he can talk about his common-sense conservative record in Congress.”
“The congressman remains committed to fighting for lower taxes, less government regulations, a national energy plan which eliminates our dependence on foreign oil, and making sure that our veterans and their families are taken care of,” Fitzgerald said in an email. “He will gladly contrast his record to that of liberal Obama-Pelosi Democrat Chris Carney.”
Brian F. Carso Jr., Ph.D., an assistant professor of history atMisericordiaUniversity, doubts Carney’s chances for a successful comeback.
“The question is what has changed in the minds and attitudes of the electorate since two years ago,” Dr. Carso said. “I don’t think anything has changed that significantly that would require a review of the decision to put a Republican in office.”
Marino has avoided major mistakes, and the political climate is running against Democratic President Barack Obama, he said.
“Marino hasn’t screwed up nor has there been a big national shift,” Dr. Carso said. “It’s not going to be a year with an Obama landslide that carries a lot of Democratic congressmen in on his coattails. It’s completely up in the air if Obama is going to be re-elected.”
Carney won in 2006, benefiting from a scandal plaguing Sherwood and a year when Democrats dominated congressional elections because of widespread dissatisfaction with Bush. He won re-election in 2008 as dissatisfaction with Bush continued, but lost to Marino in November 2010 as voters turned against Obama.
The 10th District is about 5 to 4 Republican, but figures to become more Republican in the upcoming redistricting, according to a copy of a map obtained recently by The Times-Tribune.
Carney’s latest campaign finance report, which covers the third quarter of this year, shows no debts but a negative $6,750 in cash on hand.
Marino’s third-quarter report shows $172,666 in cash.