The Times Leader published the latest election poll showing Rep. Paul Kanjorski, 13 term Pennsylvania Democrat, trailing his challenger Republican mayor of Hazelton Lou Barletta:
The second Times Leader 2010 Election poll, conducted by Critical Insights of Portland, Maine, shows that 43 percent of the 221 people polled favor Barletta, the Republican mayor of Hazleton, compared to 32 percent for 13-term Democratic incumbent Paul Kanjorski and 25 percent undecided. At the 95 percent confidence level, the margin of error for the 11th District was plus/minus 6.58 percent.
This poll comes out while Republican former Pennsylvania congressman Pat Toomey continues to lead Rep. Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania Democrat, by wide margins in the race for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Democrat Senator Arlen Specter.
Probably the most jarring of all quotes in the piece comes from what a source heard inside the Kanjorski campaign: (emphasis is mine)
“I think this election was determined in the primary,” Brauer said. “Kanjorski had two opponents in the primary who each received 20 percent of the vote.”
One of those Democratic opponents – Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien – spent a lot of money to try to unseat Kanjorski – and the other – Brian Kelly, a Marywood University professor from South Wilkes-Barre – did not campaign much and spent nearly no money.
“If they can garner those numbers against you in your own party, you can’t win in the general election,” Brauer said. “And following the primary, I heard from people inside the Kanjorski campaign who said they basically conceded the general election when shown the primary numbers.”
When told of the poll results the candidates had opposite reactions. Barletta was pleased, while the Kanjorski camp railed against the poll and its methodology.
“These results mirror what I see as I travel around the 11th District and meet with residents,” Barletta said. “People are worried about the number of jobs we’ve lost, seniors are upset about the $500 billion Congressman Kanjorski cut from Medicare, and people are scared about the government takeover of our health care, and they’re holding Congressman Kanjorski to blame because he’s been in Washington for 26 years.
If Mr. Kanjorski had a tough enough time fighting off two challengers, one of whom barely spent any money, in his primary with less name ID than the congressman of 26 years, Rep. Kanjorski is indeed in big trouble. It looks as if Mr. Kanjorski’s constituents may very well just want the Pennsylvania representative to leave Capitol Hill one way or another.