Opinion

GOP Pennsylvania Race Is Next Congressional Warzone After Georgia Fight

Reuters

John Griffing Contributor

Following the knock-down, drag-out fight in Georgia, which Democrats touted as “narrowly missing an outright win” (aka, losing), the stakes could not be higher for former Republican Rep. Tom Marino’s Pennsylvania district.

Marino is arguably the man who delivered Pennsylvania to President Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race, and Trump’s interest in the district is visible; a pro-Trump nonprofit is already launching TV ads in Pennsylvania. Marino was recently drafted by the Trump administration to serve as “Drug czar” in the “law and order” White House.

“Donald Trump was my first, first choice and I took a little heat from that from some of my members, but now they’re saying to me, ‘Hey, can you get me on board the Trump team?’ and I say ‘You can come on board anytime you want,’” Marino remarked, after Trump’s historic win.

Following Marino’s departure, a short-list of Republican candidates emerged, but only one candidate, Daniel Astin, possesses a resume comparable to Democratic challenger Chris Carney, and he is largely escaping local press coverage, in spite of his credentials as a respected attorney and former Naval Officer.

Carney — a veteran of the U.S. Navy and former representative of Pennsylvania Congressional District 10 from 2006 to 2010 when he lost to Marino — will almost surely receive millions from Democrat donors. Carney also served as a campaign surrogate for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Astin, also a Navy veteran, is a Republican attorney and early Trump supporter. He has also served on Rep. Marino’s finance committee during the past two elections.

As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, Astin served with commendation as counsel and “trusted advisor” to the Commanding Officer for “America’s Flagship,” the USS Constellation (CV64). He was also an advisor to the United States Trustee at the Department of Justice. Astin is currently a Managing Partner at Ciardi Ciardi & Astin.

Other likely candidates mentioned in local Pennsylvania publications include State Rep. Fred Keller (R-Snyder), Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko, Lycoming County Commissioner Tony Mussare, State Senator Mario Scavello, State Representative Jeff Wheeland (R-Lycoming) and, Marino staffer David Weber.

McLinko, a four-term county commissioner, is at the top of list of other contenders, and almost primaried Marino in 2013.

“Marino has done a terrific job, for the 10th, and I think I would do a good job of continuing his work,” McLinko told PoliticsPA in a phone interview.