HAZLETON ‚?? Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta won a second term in Congress on Tuesday, easily defeating the pink-pig-laden challenge from activist Democrat Gene Stilp.
According to unofficial results, Barletta, 56, of Hazleton, received 163,733 votes (58.5 percent) to 116,315 (41.5 percent) for Stilp, of Middle Paxton Township. Barletta won in all nine counties of the 11th Congressional District.
‚??It‚??s an honor and privilege to be able to continue to represent the people of the area I love so much,‚?Ě Barletta said. ‚??I truly am humbled by the support I received from throughout the district.‚?Ě
Barletta said he is eager to return to Washington and pick up where he left off.
‚??So many Americans are worried about their future,‚?Ě he said. ‚??I intend to continue working for the people here at home.‚?Ě
Barletta said he was overwhelmed by the support, noting that the newly redrawn district contains more than 400,000 new constituents.
He said the main issue facing America is to get people back to work and get the economy going again.
‚??People have to keep their homes and we have to make a better future for our children,‚?Ě Barletta said. ‚??But the top priority is to get America working again.‚?Ě
Barletta said he intends to make sure Medicare and Social Security remain strong for everyone ‚?? those enrolled now and future generations.
‚??We have to stop sending a billion dollars a day to other countries,‚?Ě he said. ‚??We have to bring jobs home. I believe the American people can spend their money better than the politicians in Washington can.‚?Ě
Barletta won even in Stilp‚??s home Dauphin County, 35,103 to 34,219. Barletta was a clear winner in Luzerne County, 49,613 to 34,485; Cumberland, 28,574 to 17,442; Northumberland, 12,578, to 7,975; Columbia, 14,849 to 9,092; Perry, 5,601 to 2,685; Wyoming, 6,802 to 4,230; Montour, 4,603 to 2,951; and Carbon, 4,350 to 2,416.
Stilp said the main reason for his defeat was that Barletta outspent him 25-1. But Stilp said the loss will not deter him from continuing to fight for what he believes in, especially issues affecting senior citizens.
‚??I‚??m not going away,‚?Ě Stilp said. ‚??I‚??ve always been an activist and I will remain an activist. I never stop.‚?Ě
Stilp said he was disappointed, but he did not argue with the result.
‚??My opponent had a clear money advantage,‚?Ě he said. ‚??It was a very negative campaign with hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on negative commercials that definitely had an impact on the election.‚?Ě
Stilp called the infusion of outside PAC money ‚??a hatchet job‚?Ě that misrepresented his views on key issues.
‚??It‚??s hard to stand up to that,‚?Ě Stilp said.