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5 Things to Know About the Holden/Cartwright Race

Democratic primary for 17th district will be decided Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Democratic voters in the Easton area -- as well as numerous other counties -- will decide who they want to represent them in Congress: , or challenger . 

Holden, 55 and from Schuylkill County, has been in Congress for 20 years, but it was only until recently -- due to -- that his representing the Lehigh Valley was even a possibility. 

In addition to the Easton area and much of Northampton County, the new 17th district includes Holden's home county, as well Monroe, Lackwanna, Luzerne and Carbon counties.

Cartwright, 50 and from the town of Moosic south of Scranton, is an attorney who has been presented as a more liberal alternative to Holden, who's known as a "Blue Dog" -- i.e., more centrist/conservative -- Democrat.

Cartwright has raised and loaned himself more than $700,000 for his campaign. 

Outside groups have spent more than $500,000 on ads in the race.

Both men have set up . The website PoliticsPA wrote last week that Holden was "in the fight of his political life."

Here are five more recent developments in the race you should know about:

1. So far, Holden appears to have racked up the most big name endorsements: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and former Gov. Ed Rendell are backing him, as well as most of the Easton area's Democratic players.

2. Cartwright, meanwhile, got the endorsement of former congressman Joe Sestak this weekend. Sestak, an admiral and one-time candidate for senate, campaigned on Cartwright's behalf in Easton on Saturday.

3. The candidates agreed last week to cease negative campaign ads, with Holden acknowledging that one of his commercials had gone over the line. The ad in question -- according to the Cartwright campaign -- had implied that Cartwright's law firm had helped pay for a judge's election to win a favorable decision.

However, on Sunday, Holden's campaign issued a statement calling Cartwright's latest mailer -- dealing with Holden's stance on health care issues and fracking -- "despicable." 

"Matt Cartwright only seems to take offense to negative ads against Matt Cartwright. It’s pure political theater," Holden campaign manager Eric Nagy said in a news release.

4. The Morning Call's Adam Clark has a pretty exhaustive breakdown of both candidates and their stances. They're pretty much similar on gun control and abortion, but seem to differ on economic issues, as well as on fracking.

5. Whoever wins Tuesday won't be guaranteed their seat. They'll face a challenge in November from Laureen Cummings, one of the founders of the Scranton Tea Party.

Jonathan Gerard April 23, 2012 at 01:03 PM
The Blue Dog Democrats did everything they could to sink the Affordable Care Act. And to exempt tracking from environmental regulations (the "Halliburton loophole") is irresponsible. Vote for Matt Cartwright. Support the President.
Oli Landwijt April 23, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Blue Dogs are pretty worthless.
Progressive College Student April 23, 2012 at 06:09 PM
I believe that Tim Holden embodies representative Democracy. When the Founding Fathers crafted our government they intended that our lawmakers would actually GOVERN. I do not believe that James Madison would agree with Matt Cartwright. His idea about governing boils down to whoever is the best “mud-slinger.” The people of the new PA-17 should vote for Tim Holden. He’s a JFK-LBJ style Democrat, he has fought tooth and nail to strengthen and protect Social Security and Medicare. When Cartwright attacks his record on Healthcare he does not realize that he brought 40 million dollars in Federal funding to build the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute among thousands of other TANGIBLE things to the district. Matt Cartwright promises that he will vote in a progressive manner and drop partisan bombs. This attitude is REGRESSIVE. Matt Cartwright would be on CNN screaming at Republicans, while Tim Holden will be working across the aisle securing funding for your child’s school, he will bring thousands of infrastructure jobs and secure additional funding to upgrade your local hospital. You make the choice. It comes down to a wealthy lawyer who has never held public office. Or a TRUE middle class Democrat that has proven time and time again that he will deliver for your district. With Tim Holden you know that he will DELIVER the benefits our Federal Government has to offer. With Matt Cartwright, you might not even be able to order takeout.

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