Every credible statewide political commentator has identified the Critz-Rothfus race for the 12th District and the Fitzpatrick-Boockvar fight for the 8th District as the two Congressional toss-ups. I share that opinion. But, if I were to identify which race in Pennsylvania is most likely to result in an upset, I would have to put my money on Gene Stilp taking a surprise victory over Congressman Lou Barletta.
(If you pressed me harder, I’d also list Trivedi over Gerlach, but that’s not the point.)
Gene Stilp is a media master. I was reminded of this today when I saw a picture of Stilp in front of a Rite Aid, casually wielding a prop syringe larger than his entire body. Why was Stilp swinging an over-sized hypodermic needle at passers-by? Because he’s a genius.
Yesterday Lou Barletta paid a quick visit to the Harrisburg area. He went to a well known pharmacy and got his flu shot. Cameras were there to capture the moment, but I wasn’t aware of it until afterwards.
I would like to have asked him a few questions about his vote to turn Medicare into a voucher system, and the adverse effect it would have on seniors.
Today I visited the same pharmacy with another shot for Mr. Barletta. This one is designed to prevent him from making any further bad votes on Medicare. Unfortunately, he wasn’t there to get it.
This is just the latest in an endless string of Stilp media blitzes. They guy knows how to make a story. Here’s a list of my personal favorites over the last few years:
1. During the 2005 pay raise scandal, Stilp walked 26 miles in a single day from Republican Senate Majority Leader David Brightbill’s house to the steps of the Capitol in Harrisburg to protest his taking of excessive per diems.
2. For no other reason than he thought it would be a nice thing to do, Stilp made a giant replica of the Statue of Liberty out of plywood and Venetian blinds to place in the middle of the Susquehanna River.
3. Pignelope. Enough said.
The most surprising aspect of suspending disbelief and entertaining the thought of a Stilp victory is that a win is quantitatively more achievable than you might think. Given that the registered voters in the newly GOP-gerrymandered 11th District are 44% Republican, 43% Democrat and 12% Independent, Stilp could actually use his Independent appeal to squeak out a victory.
He is certainly better-suited to do so than a traditional Democratic candidate.
At any rate, I’m optimistic about PA-11.