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Scranton, PA

Matthew Beynon, Senior Communications Advisor to Barletta for Senate, said: “News that Bob Casey is refusing to debate in Harrisburg and his home market of Scranton is not surprising, but still disappointing.”

“We can understand why Casey would not want to put his record to scrutiny in Scranton in particular.  The Casey Family is proudly known for being stalwart pro-life champions, yet Bob Casey has a 100% pro-choice record.  Northeast Pennsylvania is the home to hardworking blue-collar families, yet Bob Casey, Jr. has abandoned American workers by supporting massive tax increases and defending sanctuary cities.  Bob Casey even refused to speak to the Marcellus Shale Coalition, companies that are investing in good paying jobs in his home area.  It’s clear that when Bob Casey went to Washington, he left his hometown behind.”

It’s a fair point. Both candidates come from Northeast Pennsylvania and NEPA sure deserves their own debate

However, the underdog who complains rarely wins, Mr. Barletta. We know the secret to winning, it’s crisscrossing the state,  big events and  earned media. Remember Donald J Trump in 2016?

This morning John Micek, Editorial and Opinions Editor for PennLive and The Patriot-News, sort of kind of agreed with Barletta while also giving Mr. Casey a predictable excuse,

“Because of an abbreviated August recess and a busy fall voting schedule, Casey, of Scranton, agreed to just a pair of televised debates in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia this fall, taking a pass on debate invites in central Pa. and the great northeast.”

Someone please tell Mr. Micek about these new things we’ve discovered called weekends. Saturday debate anyone?

Earning votes means getting out and earning media, too. This cycle both Scott Wagner, GOP candidate for governor, and Lou Barletta fail to gin up their media game. They saw the example in 2016 with President Trump. Get out there, fight tough and force media coverage equals success.

To Wagner’s credit the 13 live broadcast town halls crisscrossing the state  talking policy and taking shots at his opponent while taking questions from the public goes a long way. The events draw thousands during broadcast. It’s not enough to overcome the lack of media coverage to win.

In a media environment where local media reports the Wagner events, the statewide media ignores most of it choosing to focus on gossip. So Wagner calls a naive young woman naive they make it a big deal. Reporting the rest of what he said; governors have little power over climate change, gets ignored altogether. Wagner talking  infrastructure so we don’t have communities dumping sewage into rivers, no coverage even though those were his next sentences.

If Mr. Barletta wants to win accept the reality. Talk on Facebook, do more interviews and less grinning for the cameras. Town halls work great, Mr. Barletta. Above all get real about the media environment and start forcing the media to cover you.

Putting all your eggs on presidential visits may very well cost you this election, Lou.