Barletta: I can win and Mastriano can’t | News, Sports, Jobs


Lou Barletta speaks at an event at the Genetti Hotel in Williamsport on Saturday.MARK MARONEY/Sun-Gazette

Lou Barletta, who is seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Tuesday’s primary election, threw punches Saturday in Williamsport hours after State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Fayettesville, endorsed the former President Donald J. Trump.

“I am the only candidate who can win in November” Barletta, 66, who served four terms in the U.S. House, said alongside former U.S. Congressman Tom Marino, U.S. Representative Fred Keller, R-Kreamer and Vincent Matteo, chairman of the Lycoming County Republican Party in the Jefferson Room of the Genetti Hotel.

“You can’t put someone in the ring who can’t beat them” Barletta said of presumptive Democratic nominee and state attorney general Josh Shapiro, who is running in the party unopposed.

“Pennsylvanians Can’t Let Josh Shapiro Win” Barletta said, adding that he wanted GOP voters to believe a Barletta nomination would result in victory in November.

Standing next to his campaign slogan “Pennsylvania’s Great Comeback”, and the image of the Liberty Bell, Barletta explained how just hours earlier, Mastriano, 58, who many pollsters have headed the group of potential GOP nominees, received a nationally broadcast endorsement from the former president, whom Barletta, Keller and Marino had joined on stage at Trump campaign rallies. They were admittedly upset over Barletta’s support of Trump during the former president’s two campaigns.

Barletta said that didn’t knock him off his post.

“It doesn’t change the facts” Bartletta said.

Marino, a former U.S. attorney for the Middle District and Lycoming County who had been considered for the position of nation’s drug czar in the previous administration, was disappointed with the former president’s decision.

“Apparently loyalty doesn’t go as far as he says it does,” Said Marin.

“He looks at the polls and whoever has the lead comes in at the end – that’s who’s going to get the approval,” Marino said of Trump.

“Where the hell is the loyalty?” Marino asked, adding that Barletta, at the very least, deserved a phone call from Trump.

Marino swore that at that time he was not supporting anyone who had Trump’s endorsement.

“I would trust my family with Lou,” Said Marin.

Barletta avoided attacking Mastriano directly by name, choosing to criticize Governor Tom Wolf, making the comparison that he and Shapiro were integral.

The governor “crushed the livelihoods of so many people (at the start of COVID)” in choosing which businesses should close, said Barletta, a former business owner and former mayor of Hazleton.

“And I thought, what gives this governor that kind of power?” Bartletta asked.

He focused on immigration policy.

“We’ve watched ghost flights come in from the border, literally bringing people in there…we have no idea who they are, we have no idea where they’re going, we have no idea in what schools they are in and how Governor Wolf and Josh Shapiro turned their backs. »

As mayor of Hazleton, Barletta attempted to combat illegal immigration through strict municipal ordinances.

Although copied by cities across the country, the Hazleton ordinances were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014.

While in Congress, Barletta introduced a bill to fund construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border, according to the Morning Call of Allentown. Barletta lost a bid to unseat U.S. Senator Bob Casey, D-Scranton, in 2018 and remained committed to politics and was involved in Trump’s unsuccessful re-election campaign in Pennsylvania.

Barletta also lambasted Wolf for the state’s energy leadership, placing the state in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which he said “Stole jobs from state residents that Shapiro accepted.”

Keller referenced Barletta’s strength in stopping illegal immigration.

“He tackled difficult issues before anyone wanted him to and he received threats,” Keller said.

“He will fight hard for the people of Pennsylvania when he is the next governor,” Keller said.

“We need your help on Tuesday to send the right person at the right time to be our next governor,” Keller said.

Barletta spoke about his education reform plan, exposing what he claimed were false narratives and barriers to parental choice and he attacked the critical race theory taught to children.

“We see our children learning to hate themselves. . . hate our country, he said.

“As Tom Wolf leaves, I realize that Josh Shapiro would be worse,” he said.

“Shapiro would be Wolf on steroids”, Matteo said, urging party unity and warning of a lack of party loyalists who did not support former Governor Tom Corbett, which led to Wolf’s eight-year presence in the governor’s mansion.

Keller praised Barletta’s commitment to pursuing a new vision for all of Pennsylvania and for showing tenacity in the campaign.

“I’ve known Lou since he was mayor of Hazleton,” Keller said. “There is no one who fights harder than Lou Barletta. … He fights for our values.

“Lou is a small entrepreneur” Keller continued. “He started his own business and he understands what it takes to get up and go to work every day and make a paycheck and understands the hard work that goes on across our Commonwealth.”

Barletta in the mid-1980s started a business in Hazleton. He and his wife’s less than $30 investment, a kit to use paint to line gaps in parking lots, has expanded to become known as Interstate Highway Marking, according to the Philadelphia Inquire.

Confident before Tuesday

“All of this ends on Tuesday and we can solve this problem. We can fix Pennsylvania,” he said. “But we can’t do that if we appoint someone who can’t beat Josh Shapiro.”

Matteo said the local party did not back a candidate in the race. No one could get more than 50% of that vote, which Matteo said was “It’s understandable because there were so many people running, so many good people.”

As we come to the final days, people are realizing that we need to merge with a candidate who can actually win in November,” Barletta said, taking aim at Mastriano but not by name.

“There is no point in winning a primary and then losing in November,” he said. “I am our only and best chance to defeat Josh Shapiro.”



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Clifton L. Boyd