PLAINS TWP. — U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta’s bus pulled into Mohegan Sun Pocono on Wednesday afternoon and the first campaign staffer to get off was Reilly, Barletta’s blogging dog.
Barletta, 62, of Hazleton, said Reilly has become the star of his ongoing statewide bus tour — named the “Red, White & Lou” tour — as Barletta continues campaigning in his quest to unseat two-term Democratic incumbent Bob Casey, 58, of Scranton.
“This was the best idea to have Reilly with me on the bus,” Barletta said before speaking to the Marcellus Shale Coalition. “Everybody loves him, especially the kids.”
”Reilly Barletta” has been keeping a blog diary of the campaign’s adventures.
Barletta said the reception he has received across the state has been overwhelming. On Wednesday, Barletta was in Pittsburgh, Altoona and State College before returning to Luzerne County.
“We had more than 300 people in Altoona,” Barletta said. “We are building momentum every day. The rally we had with President Trump a couple of weeks ago really got the campaign off to a great start.”
Barletta was referring to the rally at Mohegan Sun Arena on Aug. 2 when more than 11,000 people jammed into the arena to see and hear Trump endorse Barletta.
“The people are telling me they want the economy to continue growing,” Barletta said. “They are telling us that they never see (Sen.) Casey and they feel he hasn’t done a good job.”
Casey campaign responds
Max Steele, spokesman for the Casey campaign, issued a statement in response:
“Nowhere on his bus tour has Congressman Barletta explained why he voted to end protections for the 5 million Pennsylvanians with pre-existing conditions. He hasn’t explained his vote to turn Medicare into a voucher run by private insurance companies or how he expects Pennsylvania seniors to pay an extra $6,400 a year for their care.
“Sen. Casey is the only candidate in this race standing up for access to affordable health care and the protections Pennsylvania workers, seniors, and middle class families depend on. It’s clear that Lou is not for you.”
Barletta likes new poll
David Jackson, spokesman for the Barletta campaign, said a recent poll conducted Morning Consult found only 32 percent of voters say Casey deserves re-election.
“Despite being in statewide elected office for 22 years and spending more than $1 million on television over the past couple months, this new poll confirms that Pennsylvania voters are looking for a change from Casey who has only passed a handful of bills in over a decade in Washington,” Jackson said.
Barletta addressed the Marcellus Shale Coalition Conference to talk with industry leaders about energy production.
“Pennsylvania could be a state among nations because of our natural gas and coal supplies,” Barletta said. “The potential for job creation and wage growth is enormous.
“But Washington needs to stop interfering, and the president needs an ally in the Senate. I’m committed to working with the president to support policies that will keep growing Pennsylvania’s energy production so that we can continue to create good-paying jobs here in Pennsylvania and stop relying on foreign countries for our energy.”
The Marcellus Shale Coalition invited both U.S. Senate candidates to its Wednesday meeting. Barletta accepted the invitation; Casey was unable to attend.