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In the newly drawn 11th Congressional District in PA, there is something happening.  Something big, something exciting.  Not the conventional campaign, but an extremely effective one, with the kind of name recognition and visibility money can't buy.

Stilp is poised to shock the pundits, yet again.  No one in the district will be surprised when he does, but outside of PA the collective "What just happened" will be the focus of number crunchers everywhere.

Gene Stilp won an upset victory in the Democratic primary.

The conventional wisdom holds that Gene doesn’t have a prayer against Republican incumbent, Lou Barletta, but conventional wisdom may not apply to Gene Stilp.

Gene will be running in the 11th Congressional district, newly configured to ensure Barletta’s reelection. The Republican power brokers who drew that map certainly anticipated that Barletta would be running against a conventional Democrat, but Gene is anything but a conventional Democrat.

Gene appeals to voters across party lines. He has established a solid reputation as a reformer bent on improving government, holding officeholder accountable for their actions and fearlessly exposing corruption.

His activism in the wake of the 2005 pay raise scandal in Harrisburg directly led to the ousting of then GOP Senate Majority Leader, David Brightbill, by the voters. Brightbill, who helped engineer the pay raise, routinely took the generous per diems which are a sore point for many voters even though he lives only 26 miles from the Capitol. To make the point that Brightbill did not need a per diem to compensate him for travel to and from the Capitol, Gene one day walked from Brightbill’s house to the Capitol.

Everybody in the Dauphin/Cumberland/Perry end of the newly sprawling 11th is familiar with Gene’s big inflatable pink pig which shows up frequently on the Capitol steps and occasionally at other locations that serve to remind people of officeholder greed.

His advocacy for reform has been consistent over many years, and his creativity and keen sense of the messages that will resonate with ordinary people have built him an extensive following that crosses party lines. People feel that he understands and defends their interests.

Gene is also well-known in the Luzerne County part of the district. He grew up and went to college in Wilkes-Barre and still has many contacts as well as family ties in the area.

Barletta is practically unknown in the Dauphin/Cumberland/Perry part of the 11th, and many people question his understanding of the politics, the culture or the needs of their communities.

Gene will be running an unconventional grassroots campaign with a big pink pig (inflatable, as well as a pig shaped school bus).

Effective use of Social Media to keep people engaged and informed as he travels the district proved extremely successful in the primary.  

Given the recent Gallup Poll, showing "Corruption in Politics" as the number 2 issue behind the economy with voters, Gene's message and good branding may very well overcome the financial disadvantage he has.

Further, Lou Barletta has been getting hammered in the press for his portfolio being directly tied to his votes (STOCK Act).

Barletta is a GOP/Tea Party freshman, who is pretty much a one trick pony with his anti immigration agenda.  Not only has his position been under attack by the hispanic community, but it doesn't resonate with voters below Hazleton where the so called problem is not existent.  

His voting record with the GOP, Cantor Budget, NDAA, etc. have made him a lot of enemies anxious to vote him out.  Not to mention the environmental groups opposed to his "drill baby drill" approach to Fracking in Northeast PA.  

As you can see, there are a number of vulnerabilities with Barletta.  Combined with the "Rock Star" appeal and tremendous name recognition Gene Stilp has, this race is a LOT closer than conventional thinking realizes.

Incidentally, the registered voters in the new 11th are 44% GOP, 43% DEM and 12% IND.

Gene has HUGE appeal with the IND voters, and GOP voters below Luzerne County.

My suggestion is not to take my word for it.  Do your own research.  Even a quick Google search on both Gene Stilp and Lou Barletta might open some eyes.

*excepts taken from Jan Jarrett's Ad Hoc Blog
Thank you Jan

Thu Aug 23, 2012 at  6:36 PM PT: Keystone Politics published this article today:

The pundits are starting to catch on...

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Comment Preferences

    •  So should we write it off? (4+ / 0-)

      This is the problem with our system.
      The other guy has more money, so let's just throw in the towel and let him continue making bad votes that benefit the 1% he represents?
      I say no.

      •  It's not that the other guy has money (0+ / 0-)

        You can't run a race on $14,000, and time is short.  We each have limited funds, and I'm going to invest mine in more winnable races like PA-08.

        •  Understood (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Smoh, elizabethawilke

          Keep an eye on this race anyway.  Things might change faster than you think.
          Be well

        •  Wow, the Chair of Netroots Nation (0+ / 0-)

          Just declared you legally dead, you paupers :-)  You should have scraped up the money for Rhode Island, or thrown more red meat in your posts to fuel some moneybombs, like Alan Greyson, or better yet, stayed completely away from Daily Kos, like more electable PA-08 candidate and awesome fundraiser Kathy Boockvar has. You won't catch electable PA candidates shilling to the unwashed progressives here :-) You'll end up like former PA-08 incumbent Patrick Murphy, although I doubt Stilp would subsequently align himself with the blue dogs.

          OK, that was a bit mean spirited.  I do hope you guys can scrape up the $$$ for a poll soon, or Adam B's take is going to gel into a hard consensus among the political elite. Without a data point or two to prove you can be competitive, you effectively won't be competitive.

          •  I know you meant well (0+ / 0-)

            With $14K CoH, the political elite doesn't even know this race exists.  (And Kathy did come up to NN12 for a day, as did Manan Trivedi.)

            •  Hypothetical Scenario.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              So, let's say, hypothetically, there was a poll done after the recent financial filing deadline.

              And, hypothetically, the poll showed Stilp was within the margin of error for a dead heat.

              And, hypothetically, there were still almost 30% undecided.

              If that were all true - given the now 11 point lead by Obama in PA, high turnout coat tails, and Stilp's appeal with independents...

              The race would look a whole lot different, wouldn't it?

              With that kind of data, and a full court press over the next 3 months, who knows what the fundraising numbers might look like.

              Hypothetically the next report could show a large influx of money the opposition didn't see coming.

              Hypothetically speaking, that would be ingenious.  

              Just a thought.

            •  I was calling you one (0+ / 0-)

              of the political elite :-) at least in these parts. And you know he only has 14K on hand, so you know the race exists, and you took the time to stop by and break the OP's cash poor balls a little bit, too. And I do mean well, thank you for being understanding. Imagine if you woke up to find you had been traded to Lou Barletta for Wilkes-Barre.

              And be reasonable, it would have taken at least $1,000 in fuel to get Mr. Stilp's pink pig bus up and back to Netroots.:-)

  •  I'd like to Barletta go and I like Stilp but yeah (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am worried about his fundraising and the time he has left.  I trust him in using his resources and his activist spirit to help get people out to the polls.  He's a successful activist and I'd like to see him as a successful congressman.  

  •  Don't underestimate his ability to run the media (0+ / 0-)

    As a member of the local progressive media, I'm biased, but don't let his lack of cash on hand NOW show the full story. You people have ran campaigns. You have how much money it costs to run the narrative. Gene can do it for practically nothing. He has a personal relationship with the outlets, and his views SELL PAPERS. Lous don't so much anymore. He's just another republican now. Gene is gene.

    After Darcy wins everyone needs to take a serious look at supporting him.

    •  So, after Darcy wins, somebody knowledgable (0+ / 0-)

      like yourself or the OP needs to do another diary about what a great chance this guy has, with his poll numbers and his appeal to independents being mentioned somewhere in the first 2 paragraphs, and reminding people what hot shots they'll feel like if this guy wins and they'd bet on him.  Maybe set a specific goal you're asking Kossacks to meet?  Like how on the FP they'll ask people to give $3 to a candidate, or set a dollar amount goal.  People have their favorite races to give to, but a lot of us (like me) will find another $10 or $20 for an appealing candidate or a possible upset.  If he gets a shot of cash and is doing well in Sept., maybe it'll be possible to compete for some more of DKos' limited but elastic cash flow.

      I have to say that he doesn't look to me like a really great candidate.  TOo much focus on government waste, and that bit about working together with the Republicans to correct problems with the ACA... hmmm.  He says ACA is a base to build on, and I want it to be exactly that, but not on Republican terms.  But that may be part of how he's appealing to independents.  And the fact that he's an unexpected possible win, in the House, when we so urgently need to take the HOuse back, makes him very appealing.
      Very appealing indeed.

      --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

      by Fiona West on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 08:46:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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