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U.S. House majority leader campaigns for Republican congressional candidate

House Majority Leader Steve Scalese promotes Republican Rob Bresnahan, right, to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright in Congress
House Majority Leader Steve Scalese promotes Republican Rob Bresnahan, right, to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright in Congress

Rob Bresnahan wants congressman Matt Cartwright’s job and Steve Scalise wants to help him get it.

Scalise, the House majority leader from Louisiana and second most powerful Republican in the U.S. House, visited Kingston on Monday to back Bresnahan.

They attended a rally before about 50 people at American Legion Black Diamond Post 395.

Scalise said Republicans have only a one-vote majority and Bresnahan has to beat Cartwright to expand it.

Scalise said the one vote is preventing a Democratic agenda that favors higher taxes, an open border with Mexico, more IRS agents, ending mandatory sentencing, and shutting down American energy production related to gasoline or natural gas. He cast doubt on whether climate change is real, though experts say there is no doubt.

“If it rains, if anything happens that you think shouldn't be happening, just blame it on man, raise your taxes and shut down the economy of the United States of America. That's what they're doing. And Cartwright votes for it right down the line, your congressman,” Scalise said.

Bresnahan said crime is out of control and the nation takes better care of people who cross the border than veterans.

“And that is infuriating,” he said. “And also for the record, I'll never touch Social Security. I'll never cut Medicare. In fact, I'm going to preserve it for this generation, the next generation, my generation, my children's generation, because right now we have to make a change.”

Moments later, John Holland, a teachers union lawyer in the audience of about 50 people, stood up. Holland asked if Bresnahan supports a proposed House Republican budget that would raise the Social Security retirement age from 67 to 69. Bresnahan didn’t say.

“Well, I'm not a member of Congress yet. I'm hoping I'll be here,” Bresnahan said before introducing Scalise.
A spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee later issued a statement defending Cartwright. The committee helps Democratic congressional candidates.

"While Rob Bresnahan is busy running around with a Washington insider who recently backed a budget that would cut Social Security, privatize Medicare, and raise the age of retirement, Congressman Cartwright is focused on what really matters: his constituents," committee spokesman Aidan Johnson said.

Later, Scalise raised money for Bresnahan’s campaign at the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre.
The 8th Congressional District race is expected to be one of the most expensive and hotly contested in the country. Cartwright has won his last three elections by narrower margins each time in a district that twice voted for Donald Trump for president.

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Borys joins WVIA News from The Scranton Times-Tribune, where he served as an investigative reporter and covered a wide range of political stories. His work has been recognized with numerous national and state journalism awards from the Inland Press Association, Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors, Society of Professional Journalists and Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association.

You can email Borys at boryskrawczeniuk@wvia.org