In case you missed it: Last night on Fox Philly, a three minute story ran analyzing the impact of Tea Party candidate Jake Towne on Congressman Dent's reelection effort in the 15th Congressional District.
KEY FACT: Congressman Dent is against allowing Tea Party Candidate Jake Towne to participate in debates even though Towne has done the work to earn his place as a third party candidate on the ballot in the November election.
Below is the transcript of the story:
Joyce: Let’s get a take on what’s going on this Lehigh Valley race from political analyst Jeff Jubelirer. Thanks for coming in Jeff.
Jeff: Hi Joyce.
Joyce: You’re going to straighten it all out for us. Congressman Dent is a Republican and candidate Jake Towne was a Republican so is Towne too much heat for Dent in an anti-incumbent mood in this country? And what does the Tea Party have to do with it?
Jeff: Well why Congressman Dent is concerned is that what those who know the Tea Party know is that they espouse positions that are similar to Republicans, so any attention that Towne can get in a debate would be predicted to actually hurt Charlie Dent. The problem here for Congressman Dent is that he is bringing attention to this third party candidate, this Tea Party candidate by causing a problem and saying he doesn’t want him to appear. So that is also problematic because in essence he’s getting free public relations through Congressman Dent’s concern.
Joyce: He’s not the only one adding to something that might be strange to some voters. The Democratic challenger Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan wants Towne included in the debate. Is he hoping that Dent and Towne will cancel each other out?
Jeff: Absolutely. You can imagine if Towne and Dent are going at it, here’s this third option Mayor Callahan, the Democratic candidate who will ostensibly benefit. The problem here is also what does one determine the criteria for having a third party candidate that will be allowed to be entered in debates – in a presidential election we have the same debate. We don’t know if it’s a public opinion poll where the candidate gets a certain amount – or if he has enough signatures on his petition – until we get that straight it doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat – there’s always going to be someone who doesn’t want that third party candidate in and it’s a real question is that if it’s right for democracy or should we only have the two major candidates going at it?
Joyce: Then again, Towne doesn’t have much money in his war chest, reportedly only about $40,000, does he really have a shot here?
Jeff: He has no shot, Joyce. The problem is though, raising awareness of his positions and ostensibly again taking down Dent’s vote count. And in a race that is fairly close between Dent and Callahan if he gets up to 10% or 15% of the vote come fall that could bring down Congressman Dent, and therefore his concern.
Joyce: Is there anyway that Dent can make a Dent in this race?
Jeff: Well you mean Towne making a dent, I hope you meant that.
Joyce: Well Dent, he’s the incumbent, the anti-incumbent mood, the Tea Party doesn’t like him, they like the other guy so…
Jeff: I see what you’re saying, excuse me. Well certainly, his positions you know might skew more towards the right but the problem there is the Lehigh Valley as many of our viewers know is a very moderate district, very independent, so Congressman Dent really has to toe the line between being too conservative, and moderate for the Tea Party, so he has to really weigh his options in terms of the positions he takes. He’s in good shape now, but having a strong Tea Party candidate would be something that would be concerning for folks who support Dent himself.
Joyce: Quite a juggling act. Jeff Jubelier thanks so much for coming in tonight. We’ll see you later okay?