Congressional Leadership Fund earmarks $5.6M for 8th District race

May 22—WILKES-BARRE — With surrogates like House Speaker Mike Johnson and Majority Leader Steve Scalise having already been in the area to support Rob Bresnahan, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC that is known as the Speakers PAC dedicated to winning a Republican Majority in the House of Representatives, announced on Tuesday that is has reserved $5.6 million for the 8th District race.

Bresnahan, 34, of Dallas Township, is the Republican challenger in the race against six-term Democratic incumbent Matt Cartwright,63, of Moosic.

"I'm excited to have an ally in my corner that will remind the voters of the 8th Congressional District that Matt Cartwright has lost his way in Washington DC.," Bresnahan said. "Matt has made our country and our communities less safe by voting against our law enforcement, voting against a secure border, and trillions in reckless spending that sent inflation soaring and hurting local families."

The Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC endorsed by Speaker Johnson and House Republican Leadership, announced its first wave of fall ad reservations for the 2024 election cycle.

The initial reservations total $141 million for television, streaming and digital platforms. The reserve spans 37 media markets.

CLF's initial ad reservations are larger than any previous election cycle to date — reserving nearly $20 million more than in 2022, when Republicans took back the House, and more than three times the amount from 2020, when Republicans picked up 15 seats.

The Bresnahan campaign said CLF's full spend on Jim Bognet's race in 2020 was $0 and in 2022 it was $2.4 million.

"The fact that they are increasing their ad spend by 150% proves their confidence in Rob Bresnahan's candidacy and path to victory," said Derek Rockey, Bresnahan's Campaign Manager. "Their ad-buy reservation into PA-08 is larger than their other ad-buy among other PA Congressional candidates. They reserved a smaller buy in the Philadelphia media market, which is far more expensive than the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton media market."

Rockey said the huge infusion of dollars means that Bresnahan will have all the financial backing and airwave support he needs to defeat Cartwright.

On Monday, House Speaker Johnson said so far in 2024 he has been to 107 cities in 29 states campaigning for Republican candidates for Congress. Johnson, 52 of Louisiana, said his visit to Dallas Township on Monday to campaign for Bresnahan was one of the most important stops he has made because the seat is critical for the GOP to win.

"We are very excited about Rob's candidacy in the 8th Congressional District — this race is important not just for the district, but for the entire country," Johnson said, adding that the 8th Congressional District is one of the top five races in the country.

Scalise, R-Louisiana, was in town April 8 to campaign for Bresnahan, and U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Dallas, at the Black Diamond Kingston American Legion Post 395.

"We need Rob in Congress," Scalise said. "We have a slim majority right now, and we need Rob to win this race. We need to turn our country around."

Scalise said Bresnahan would vote with him and Meuser and the Republican majority on key issues, such as the southern border, the economy, energy, military and law enforcement.

DCCC issues response

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson Aidan Johnson issued a response to the CLF support of Bresnahan.

"Wall Street special interests are riding in to rescue Rob Bresnahan because they know he is a sure-fire vote for their dangerous agenda of gutting Social Security and Medicare to cut taxes for the ultra-wealthy, and they are terrified Matt Cartwright will win this race and continue holding corporations accountable."

Cartwright, 63 of Moosic, is serving his 6th two-year term in Congress. A senior member of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, Cartwright serves as the ranking member of the Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee and he is the second-highest Democrat on the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee.

First elected to the seat in 2012, Cartwright most recently won reelection in 2022, when he defeated Republican Jim Bognet by 7,000 votes in one of the most-closely watched races in the country. Cartwright also defeated Bognet in 2020.

The 2024 General Election will take place on Nov. 5. The 8th Congressional District includes Lackawanna, Wayne and Pike counties and portions of Luzerne and Monroe counties.

Reach Bill O'Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.