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Minority Whip Campaigns For Holden in Easton

U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer supports Tim Holden during Lehigh Valley visit.

Congressman Tim Holden -- who's running to represent the Easton area -- already has the backing of . 

On Friday, he got support from a Democrat who's a bit farther up the political ladder: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

Hoyer, who represents Maryland's 5th district and has spent 31 years in Congress, stopped in Easton and Upper Nazareth Friday, having lunch at in Centre Square following a visit to .

They spoke to Eastonians during Josie's busy lunchtime rush, and were greeted by Easton Mayor Sal Panto, City Councilman Ken Brown, County Controller Steve Barron, and School Board Member Frank Pintabone.

Holden is facing a primary challenge from Lackawanna County  to represent the newly reconfigured 17th district, which includes the Easton area and much of Northampton County, as well Schuylkill County and parts of Monroe, Lackwanna, Luzurne, Carbon counties. 

"He really is grassroots," Brown said of Holden, who's based in Schuylkill County. "He knows what small towns need."

Barron said he admires Holden's abilities to "negotiate the halls of Congress."

"He's one of the few guys in Washington that D.C. hasn't changed," Barron said.

Hoyer praised Holden as a representative who was interested in more than "simply playing politics and throwing bricks." 

He also said Holden was instrumental as head of the House Agricultural Committee on passing legislation that helped farmers in the Chesapeake Bay, part of Hoyer's district.

Although based outside of the area, Holden and Cartwright have opened in Easton -- within blocks of each other -- in the last few weeks.

On Wednesday, The National Journal reported that Cartwright had raised nearly $600,000 in his effort to unseat Holden. 

"Holden also has other advantages of incumbency, even if he is new to much of the district," the story notes. "For example, longtime relationships with networks of local elected officials will ease Holden's getting-to-know-you process in new territory, and he has already nabbed a few Democratic committee endorsements in Cartwright's home territory. Cartwright's fundraising alone isn't enough to overcome a litany of other disadvantages or make him the race's favorite. But his finances will give Cartwright the chance to have a chance."

Holden, who is known as a "Blue Dog" Democrat (i.e. a more moderate-to-conservative Democrat), has been criticized by Cartwright for his votes in favor of the Bush tax cuts and the balanced budget amendment.

Holden's campaign told PoliticsPA earlier this month that the Congressman had "has been a fierce advocate for American workers," and said Holden's endorsements from political leaders show that "that Democrats aren't buying our opponent’s rhetoric."

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