In 2012, Matt Cartwright waged a strong primary campaign against reactionary Blue Dog Tim Holden (one of the “Democrats” who joined with the GOP to vote against ObamaCare). Hoyer and Pelosi warned that a progressive like Cartwright could not win that red a seat in northeast Pennsylvania.
Matt was one of Blue America’s top candidates that year and we were in the trenches with him, running billboards throughout PA-08– while Hoyer ran around the district with a pack of lobbyists begging “people” to vote for Holden, a pro-frack-maniac.
Matt won– by a lot: 57.1% to 42.9% and then in the general election went on to beat the Republican Hoyer and Pelosi said he couldn’t– by even more: 161,393 (60.3%) to 106,208 (39.7%).
Matt then joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus and worked his way up to the caucus’ whip. He was immediately appointed vice chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition Caucus. Even before the election, he endorsed marriage equality, a position that the DCCC recommended that swing district Democrats stay away from. Since then, he’s had a 100% voting record from the Human Rights Campaign.
This week, Matt told me that when he first ran for Congress,
“I promised to be a Roosevelt Democrat– someone who stands up for the ordinary working people of the United States, for their safety, their economic security, their access to healthcare, their clean air and water, and their civil rights. I promised to be someone who isn’t afraid to take on what FDR called the ‘economic royalists,’ the powerful, the moneyed, and the connected. Drawing on the words of the late Paul Wellstone, I ran as a proud member of the ‘Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.’ It was my belief that, as Democrats, we do not ever need to forfeited these principles, even in so-called difficult districts.I have never abandoned these values, or hidden them, and I believe my voting record reflects that. My congressional story is a demonstration that when we have the courage of our convictions, and stand for them in a forthright manner, we can win districts like mine with a consistently progressive message. If it means working a little harder, we’re not afraid of that.”
Matt won reelection in 2014 and in 2016; even as Trump won his district by 10 points, Matt also won– by 7.5 points. In 2018 the GOP threw a self-funding Wall Street crook up against him (who spent $1,687,182 of his own money on the race) and, even with the district gerrymandered against him, he beat the Republican by over 9 points.
This year, the GOP has a fringe nut, Jim Bognet, who won the crowded Republican primary on one message: claiming he is the “Trump candidate.” Lately, as Trump’s approval continues to sink in northeast Pennsylvania, Bognet is trying to back away from his Trump-adhesion.
For 2020 Matt’s district is rated a “toss up.” A few days ago Ted Lieu called me and asked if Blue America could help raise campaign funds for Matt, who he told me needs some help to overcome the Republican onslaught. Matt is their #1 target among House incumbents. Click the thermometer and give today, if you can.
Ted told me that he and Matt are co-chairs of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, and that he had gotten to know him well. “He is an amazing Member of Congress who has advanced strong progressive values in a district that Trump won by 10 points,” said Lieu. “Matt has shown remarkable courage, determination and grit. He is in a tough race again and we must bring him back to Congress. I hope you can help Matt. And as a bonus, every Democratic voter that Matt turns out in his district is also very likely to vote for Biden over Trump in the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania.”
Another strong and activist Democrat who Matt serves with in the House, Jamie Raskin (D-MD), wants us to let Blue America members know that, in his words, “Matt Cartwright is the lucid, passionate and unmistakable voice in Congress of every victim of asbestos poisoning, every community fighting toxic contamination of their water, and every citizen fighting for his or her rights against big money, big business and big government. If you give a damn about the survival of democracy in America, do something right now to keep Matt Cartwright in Congress.”
Please consider making a contribution to Matt Cartwright’s campaign. Along with Ted Lieu and Jamie Raskin, he’s one of only an even dozen incumbents we’ve endorsed this year. The other men and women we’ve endorsed are in blue districts. Matt’s PVI is rated R+1.