Hazelton Mayor Lou Barletta, a Republican who earned national fame for his crusade against illegal immigration, announced today that he will run to represent Northeasatern Pennsylvanian's 11th congressional district in the U.S. House.
It will be his third attempt at Congress. As the GOP nominee in 2008, Barletta lost to longtime Democratic incumbent Rep. Paul Kanjorski by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent, amid the high turnout of the Obama presidential victory. Republican strategists believe Kanjorski is vulnerable.
Barletta announced his intent on his website, www.loubarletta.com, this morning. He used a video, set to stirring music, that shows his concession speech from 2008 and then switches to hizzoner saying he wants to fight to "put America back on track" for his new grandson - and everybody's grandchildren. (He did not mention immigration.)
In 2006, Barletta became a hero of many conservatives for pushing through regulations that denied business permits to firms that hired illegal immigrants and imposed fines on landlords who rent to them.
Kanjorski, first elected in 1984, is expected to seek reelection, though he has not announced. He had a little more than $800,000 in his campaign coffers as of Sept. 30, according to the Federal Elections Commission.
Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien is running against Kanjorski for the Democratic nomination, the Morning Call newspaper reports.