Rumors have been circulating about Democratic ex-Congressman Chris Carney re-entering public life and running for Congress. A map, circulated online, helped fuel speculation since it had Pennsylvania’s 11th District changing to include Susquehanna County.
Without being too cynical, in politics, you should follow the money. Before seriously considering a Carney challenge to Barletta, reporters should look to his fundraising. According to the FEC, Chris Carney raised a whopping $4,000 in his most recent report. He spent $2,795 and still has $19,255 in debt and somehow ended with a negative cash on hand balance of -$6,749. During the same period, Barletta raised 95x’s more money than Carney and ended the cycle with a little more than a quarter-million dollars on hand.
In 2008, Carney spent $14.51 per vote to keep his seat. His $2.3 million grabbed him a 56% win against a bruised Chris Hackett in 2008.
In 2010, Carney only had $1.6 million to play with. In vain, Carney upped his spending to $18.45 per vote and still took a beating from Republican Tom Marino. Marino raised and spent less than half of what Carney did and won decisively.
It should be apparent that the wheels have fallen off of Chris Carney’s fundraising operation.
When you really get into the details of the map, you see that the following counties are part of the “new” district: Columbia, Luzerne, Montour, Pike, Monroe, Montour, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming. Of those, Luzerne is shared between districts, Columbia and Monroe are Barletta’s, Montour, Pike, Montour, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming all used to be Carney’s.
In 2010, Barletta racked up 69% of the vote in Columbia, 57% of his portion of Luzerne County, and 54% of Monroe. Carney received 52% of the vote in his very small portion of Luzerne County, 43% of Montour, 39% in Pike County, 43% of Susquehanna, 40% in Wayne County, and 45% of Wyoming County.
If this new district were to be constructed, the majority of the counties would be from Carney’s district – the people that know him best and rejected him soundly in the last election. So, putting aside the money issue and considering his immediate past electoral performance, Carney is a non-starter.
Last to consider, what is he doing now? After the voters tossed Carney in 2010, Carney scored a job with BAE Systems, a big defense contractor. According to legistorm, BAE Systems was on the receiving end of $58,040,000 in earmarks during the 2008-2010 cycle – the majority of which were Democrat-sponsored earmarks.
That’s a pretty cushy position for a guy like Carney to land.
So, let’s recap. Speculation surrounds Carney entering a congressional race based on a map that includes, a large part of his old district – a district which gave him his pink slip in 2010. The counties to be added in particular all rejected him or, in the case of a shared county, rejected his neighboring Democrat. He has a good job in the defense sector that he would likely have to leave to enter into this new campaign which, he seems unable to fund considering so far he raised a little more than five times the amount your average girl scout troop makes selling cookies.
Sorry folks, but this seems to be a case of media-fueled speculation to try to sell newspapers. Nothing, absolutely nothing suggests that he will seek to run again for Congress. And, based on the information above, that is about the smartest call he can make. If 2010 election results and his present fundraising numbers are any indication, Carney isn’t prepared to run for Susquehanna County Commissioner, let alone Congress. And, considering he couldn’t even win his home county of Susquehanna in 2010, that’s probably a stretch as well.
This one appears to be a media fabrication or worse, wishful thinking on the part of a left-leaning press. Sorry guys, but your slip is showing on this one.