Sabato's Crystal Ball

Pennsylvania (11) House 2010

 

Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans R

Democratic candidates: Paul Kanjorski, Incumbent

Republican candidates: Lou Barletta, Mayor of Hazleton

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: October 5, 2010

Pennsylvania will be one of the key battlegrounds of 2010, with many close House races from 2006 and 2008 replayed against a different backdrop, with Democrats on the defensive this time. Democrat Paul Kanjorski may be a 13-term congressman, but his constituents nearly gave him the boot in 2008 when he squeaked by mayor Lou Barletta, famous for his strong stances against illegal immigration. Now Barletta is back for a third shot–he actually challenged Kanjorski first back in 2002–and a recent newspaper poll showed him leading Kanjorski 43%-32%, a pitiful position for an incumbent who should be very much entrenched after 26 years in office. Given the state of this race, the Crystal Ball is moving our rating from Toss-Up to Leans R.

Background:

Thirteen-term Democratic incumbent Paul Kanjorski has geared up again for a run in 2010, hoping to maintain his solid grip on the strongly Democratic-trending 11th District. The 11th has delivered decisive Democratic victories at both the congressional and presidential levels for more than 10 years, but recently support has been slipping. In the 2008 election, Republican Mayor Lou Barletta of mountainous and chilly Hazleton was served an icy defeat after losing by only 3 percent—yet he came closer to unseating the “entrenched yeti” than any of the previous challengers. Growing dissatisfaction with the economy under the Democratic majorities in government could further erode Kanjorski’s support, especially in a district that has been traditionally economically-challenged.

We still consider this race LEANS R.