Who Will Replace Lou Barletta?

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HAZLETON -- Republicans saw the 11th Congressional District as a safe district for the party and Lou Barletta who is currently in his fourth term.

Barletta is the former mayor of Hazleton. He may be the best known of six Republicans running but that does not guarantee him the nomination.

A professor of government at Misericordia University says Barletta is closely linked to President Donald Trump.

The congressman's fate could be tied to how Republican voters feel about the president come spring.

"Do we want somebody so closely affiliated with Trump, or do we want somebody with what you might call less baggage, do we want somebody different?" Prof. Brian Carso said.

But now with Barletta announcing a run for the U.S. Senate, and no incumbent in the race, Newswatch 16 has learned at least seven people are considering getting in the race to succeed Barletta in Congress.

Lawyer Bill Vinsko of Wilkes-Barre ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic party nomination for the 11th Congressional District in 2012. But without Lou Barletta on the ballot in 2018, Vinsko is now considering another try.

"There's no question that not having an incumbent is going to favor a Democrat more than an incumbent in the race would," said Vinsko.

Air Force veteran Alan Howe and former state Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff of the Harrisburg area are also considering running for the Democratic nomination.

Former state Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser of Luzerne County is considering running for congress on the Republican side. Meuser is the former President of Pride Mobility in Exeter and says for the next few days, Republicans should focus on Barletta's Senate bid.

"I'm very proud of him that he's running," said Meuser. "Lou has served the 11th District extremely well in Washington with conservative values and moving the country in the right direction."

Another potential Republican candidate, state Representative Tarah Toohil of the Hazleton area, also chose to let Barletta have the spotlight for now.

In a text message, she wrote she, "believes he would be a much-needed vote for change in Washington."

Toohil has not set a timetable to decide whether to run for Congress.

Businessman Andrew Lewis and state Representative Stephen Bloom, both of the Harrisburg area, are also considering running for the GOP nomination in the 11th District.

People connected to the race say the real winners will be television and radio stations, both locally and in the state capital region.

Candidates, parties, and special interest groups will likely spend much more money on a race for an open congressional seat than a race where Lou Barletta was seen as a shoo-in for re-election.

*Corrected 8/30 to reflect Mr. Meuser is the former President and not former CEO of Pride Mobility


  • trucker

    Lou Barletta is one of the most courageous men in politics today. Took allot of guts to stand up to the criminal invaders and the MS-13 controlled local media. 11th was a safe seat for Kanjorski and is majority democrat. Toohil has the best shot at winning, or passing a backround check.


    pee wee herman or Boy george might be a good leader for the strange drunken pedo roamers of the greater hazleton region.

    • Huggy

      There’s a real cute Sgt in Arms roaming a town in schuylkill county. Good voice for the mic and sweet tall socks on him

  • draining the swamp? filling the cesspool

    One of the empty beer cans from the clean-up in Hazelton could do a better job as a senator than this egomaniac.

  • Chuck

    Someone looking for free government healthcare for life. A pension for life. And a swampy K Street job to fall back on when you lose. This guy failed Hazelton, failed as a Congressman and now he wants to complete his failures with a hat trick. You people actually deserve him.

    • JD

      Did he actually fail, or did the Democratic swamp put the blocks to his plans? Er, was it personal on his part? Jeeze, I’d like ta know.

    • Tom

      He puts out a video telling us how poor and hard-working he was. Give us a break. Go back to painting lines on roads. He’s a power-hungry opportunist.

  • Marcus

    1. Made in the image of the father…Donald Trump.

    2. Rick Santorum surrogate. John Breybender is Lou Barletta’s Senate campaign manager. Breybender was Santorum’s presidential campaign manager. Connect the dots.

    • Tom

      He put Hazleton into additional debt of $1.5 million with his failed local immigration laws. You’ll never hear him talk about that. And the fact that he’s close to an incompetent president, who should be impeached, speaks volumes.


    i will. i will make the mean hard decisions that nobody wants to make and i wont care whether people like me or not.

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