MILFORD, PA — While the presidential race between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump has been dominating headlines for a while now, more localized races have been much …
MILFORD, PA — While the presidential race between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump has been dominating headlines for a while now, more localized races have been much quieter.
Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-08), a four-time Democratic incumbent whose district includes Wayne and Pike counties, has received consistent attacks from his Republican opponent Jim Bognet. Since the primaries, Bognet has been referring to Cartwright as “Nancy Pelosi’s lapdog,” and in the face of the pandemic has accused Cartwright of being “AWOL” and “cowardly.” Cartwright has had far less to say about his opponent, though he did air a 30-second advertisement in July in which he claimed that Bognet “would move us backward.”
Now, Cartwright is making the push to mobilize voters for the 2020 General Election. Last week, Cartwright met with progressive Pike County group Delaware Valley Action to field some questions through Zoom.
Members of Cartwright’s staff spoke to the group’s members first, encouraging them to participate in the upcoming “virtual volunteer weekend of action,” which took place August 15 and 16. Some of the members weren’t sold on the idea, fearing that annoying residents with phone calls could have an adverse effect.
Cartwright’s staffers responded that those instincts would typically be correct. But that in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic prevents them from holding in-person campaign events and canvasing door-to-door, phone calls are necessary for getting the congressman’s name out there.
Dozens of volunteers took part in the volunteer weekend last Saturday and made about 1,600 calls over a two-hour period.
When Cartwright joined the Zoom meeting, the first question he received was about gun control: “How do I respond to my Republican friends who say that Democrats want to take away our guns?”
Cartwright responded that he is a gun-owner himself, and “a pretty good shot with my Remington.” He said that he was not interested in rounding up people’s guns, but that he has proudly voted yes on legislation to enhance background checks and close gun-buying loopholes.
The topic provided Cartwright a segue into one of his favorite selling points: his bipartisanship. The congressman often pitches himself as a Democrat who is very willing to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans, and he tends to lean away from more progressive policies like the Green New Deal and free college, which have been made popular by progressive Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Another group member asked the Congressman about mail-in voting, expressing concern about the security of ballots that get sent through the postal service.
“Think about all the things we trust the U.S. Postal Service to deliver,” Cartwright said, naming items like social security checks and medicine sent by Veterans Affairs.
He also explained that it’s referred to as “voting at home,” instead of “mail-in voting” or “voting by mail.”
Cartwright has agreed to one of the five debates that Bognet challenged him to this election. It will take place on WVIA, but the date has yet to be determined.