Trump wanted Lou Barletta to be the GOP Senate nominee in Pennsylvania. He should be careful what he wishes for.
But things did not go so well for Republicans. To run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, they picked four-term Rep. Lou Barletta — and they are already terrified he is a dud.
According to the Washington Examiner, Pennsylvania Republicans are bemoaning Barletta’s poor fundraising and the fact that he is “relying too much” on Trump.
One GOP strategist bluntly said, “The sense is, nobody knows what the fuck he’s doing. He’s not really working it hard … Lou is just like a ghost.”
Additionally, Barletta — an anti-immigrant hardliner who wants to roll back birthright citizenship and claims “America is at war” with “violent criminal aliens” — has a disturbing past. As mayor of Hazelton, he headlined an anti-immigration rally with a Holocaust denier, and sat for an interview with a publication that called 9/11 a “Jewish plot.”
But none of this bothers Trump. In fact, Barletta is arguably Trump’s hand-picked choice for the race. As the Philadelphia Inquirer notes, “Until recently, few people saw U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta as a potential Senate candidate … then Donald Trump happened.”
Barletta was an early endorser of Trump’s campaign for president, and Trump has returned the favor. He proclaimed last year at a tax event in Harrisburg that Barletta is a “great guy” who is “going to win big” against Casey.
On Tuesday, Trump sent out robocalls for Barletta, urging voters to turn out for his “good friend.” After his win, he tweeted, “Lou is a friend of mine and a special guy, he will very much help MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Barletta, for his part, is also confident he and his party will take the midterms. But he is kidding himself.
He is facing a Democratic senator who has never lost a statewide general election, has nearly ten times as much cash on hand, and is beating him in the most recent poll by 18 points. Moreover, he is running in a state where just 30 percent of voters approve of Trump, where Democrats just flipped a red House seat and are poised to flip more, and where Republicans are running away from their signature tax cut bill as voters are unimpressed.
Trump got his wish. His “good friend” Barletta is the nominee for Senate. He is likely to regret it.