WILKES-BARRE — U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta said Tuesday he is very familiar with the inability of “political experts” to grasp the mood of voters.
In fact, he’s counting on it to happen again in his race for the U.S. Senate against fellow Northeastern Pennsylvania native Bob Casey of Scranton.
Barletta said he has seen the polls that favor Casey, noting the margin of a predicted Casey victory has been declining in recent weeks. But Barletta saw the same pre-election polling in 2016 when the “experts” incorrectly predicted that Hillary Clinton could not be beaten — which she was, by President Donald Trump.
“There is only one poll that matters and that is the one that will be taken on Nov. 6,” Barletta said. “In 2016, voters didn’t answer polls on the phone — they went to the polls to vote.”
Barletta is getting ready for Thursday’s appearance by President Donald Trump at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Trump is scheduled to take the podium at 7 p.m. in support of Barletta’s Senate campaign.
Barletta, 62, of Hazleton, has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2010. At Trump’s urging, he decided to challenge Casey for the Senate.
Barletta was one of the earliest members of Congress to endorse Trump’s presidential candidacy.
“The relationship I have developed with the president is something he has not forgotten, and I am certain he will help us in Pennsylvania when I’m in the Senate,” Barletta said.
Barletta and fellow U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Lycoming Township, co-chaired Trump’s Pennsylvania campaign in 2016. Barletta also served on Trump’s transition team after the election and he was considered for two positions in Trump’s cabinet.
“The policies of illegal immigration is certainly something we have in common,” Barletta said. “And we agree on standing up for the forgotten men and women of our military who were killed in action. We will always stand up for veterans to make sure they are taken care of.”
Barletta said Trump has done everything the American people have been craving for years — creating jobs being at the top of the list.
“There are more jobs now than people who are unemployed,” Barletta said. “That means wages will be on the rise.”
Barletta said he feels the people of Pennsylvania don’t want to stop the momentum of the Trump administration.
“And my opponent has been leading that obstruction,” Barletta said. “The people of Pennsylvania understand the importance of this election. They will not stay home on Election Day.”
Barletta said the goal of the Democratic Party in Washington is to impeach Trump.
“That’s why the Democrats want control of Congress,” Barletta said. “And if they do, they will attempt to impeach Donald Trump. I don’t believe the people of Pennsylvania will allow that to happen.”
Casey, 58, is seeking his third, six-year term in the Senate. He said his job is to get results for Pennsylvania’s workers, seniors and middle class.
“And I’ll work with anyone to do that,” he said. “I’ve worked with both parties to restore health care for coal miners, rebuild our roads and bridges, and combat the opioid crisis. I backed the administration’s plan to get tough on China for cheating on trade and opposed the administration’s plan to end protections for those with pre-existing conditions because I will always put Pennsylvanians first.”
But, Casey said, he is not running against the Trump administration.
“I’m running against a corporate special interest agenda that is stacking the deck against working families and holding Pennsylvania’s middle class back,” he said.
Trump likes NEPA
Barletta said Trump chose to make Wilkes-Barre his first stop for the campaign because he appreciates the support he received here in 2016.
“We believe that it was Northeastern Pennsylvania that propelled him into the White House,” Barletta said. “And the strong support we will have here will help replicate the blueprint that elected Donald Trump as president and will help me in the Senate race.”
Barletta said he and Casey may be from the same area, but he noted Casey decided to lead the resistance against this president.
“That is not going to help him back home where I already have a strong following,” Barletta said. “This is an area where I managed to win against a longtime 26-year Democratic incumbent, Paul Kanjorski. Bob Casey’s resistance and obstruction against this president’s agenda will cost him this election.”
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.