KINGSTON TWP. — Former state revenue secretary Dan Meuser announced Monday that he will seek the Republican nomination in the 9th Congressional District, despite being a resident of the 8th District.
But before you yell “gerrymander,” know that Meuser made the decision based on the fact that the state Supreme Court issued a new congressional district map that drastically changed the playing field.
Meuser, 54, said Monday that he is running in the 9th District because the new district retained most of the areas he had been campaigning in as an announced candidate in what was the 11th Congressional District. The 11th seat has been held since 2010 by U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta of Hazleton, who is now running for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate.
“I’m not going to let what many think was an unconstitutional act by liberal judges gerrymander me from losing Lou’s seat,” Meuser said. “We may have lost the battle in the courts, but we won’t lose the battle for Lou’s seat.”
Meuser said he will begin circulating petitions in the court-imposed 9th Congressional District, despite living in the 8th District.
“Although my residence is right on the cusp of the new 9th Congressional District, much of my local community is in the new 9th.”
Meuser said the 9th District still has five of the counties he has been campaigning in since he announced. The 9th Congressional District includes central and northern Berks County and Schuylkill, Lebanon, Columbia, Montour, Carbon counties and part of Luzerne County.
Meuser noted that the Back Mountain area of Luzerne County has been split with the new redistricting. For example, Dallas Borough in in the 9th District, while Dallas Township is in the 8th District.
“I have lost hundreds of votes with that split,” Meuser said. “Back Mountain has never been split like this.”
Meuser said he announced his candidacy for the 11thCongressional District on Sept. 6, with the intention of retaining Barletta’s seat in Congress.
Meuser said the newly released map is being challenged in the federal courts on the basis of constitutionality, specifically as to whether the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has the authority to draw maps.
Reasons for running
Meuser said he loves his country wants government to serve it better. He said his experiences in the private and public sectors will make him an effective Congressman.
“Like you, I don’t very often like what I see in Washington, D.C.,” Meuser said. “There is too much rhetoric and not enough results; this needs to be reversed.”
He said Barletta encouraged him to run because he is an experienced conservative focused on helping President Donald Trump accomplish his America First agenda.
Radio ad launched
The Meuser for Congress Campaign launched its first radio ad Monday, which will be airing on radio stations around the District.
“The launch of our first radio ad represents an important next step in our campaign to spread our message about why we need to send a problem-solving conservative to Congress who has a record of success in business and the public sector and is committed to helping President Trump implement the ‘America First’ agenda,” Meuser said. “We are running an aggressive campaign and we look forward to meeting and speaking with as many voters as possible in the 9th Congressional District. Stay tuned as we will be releasing more exciting news about our campaign as the week continues.”
The radio ad includes Meuser telling voters that he “believes strongly in President Trump’s agenda of a stronger military, a fiscally sound America with lower taxes, and an end to dangerous sanctuary cities and disastrous Obamacare.”
Dr. Gary Wegman, a Reading Democrat and a dentist, had been a candidate in the old 16th District, which included Lancaster County and the City of Reading. Wegman announced last week that he will run in the new 9th Congressional District.
Other Democrats in the race include: former agriculture secretary Denny Wolff, Columbia County, Air Force veteran Robert Alan Howe, Cumberland County, and former Hazleton Mayor Mike Marsicano of Hazle Township who lost in 2016 to Barletta.
In addition to Meuser, other Republicans in the race include state Rep. Stephen Bloom, Cumberland County, Berwick Councilman Andrew Schecktor and Andrew Lewis of Dauphin County, a remodeling company project manager.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.