Republicans get one of their top-tier candidates, a strong contender who had been on the fence:
Republican Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta will announce today that he will mount a third run for Congress next year, two party sources familiar with his plans said.
An e-mail from his campaign said he will announce his decision at 10 a.m. through an Internet webcast on his campaign Web site, www.loubarletta.com.
Efforts to reach the mayor the past two weeks were unsuccessful. Vince Galko, who managed Mr. Barletta’s campaign last year, declined to comment, but sent the e-mail announcing the webcast. The e-mail only said Mr. Barletta would announce whether he would run.
Last month, Mr. Barletta sent a letter to supporters asking for contributions to reduce the debt left over from his unsuccessful runs for Congress in 2002 and 2008 against U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski.
This is pretty big, because Barletta actually led Kanjorski in several polls in 2008; Kanjorski’s bacon was saved by Obama’s big win in the district (by a 15-percentage-point margin).
UPDATE: Lou Barletta would like a few moments of your time: