According to the liberal New York Times, there's no Congressional race in the Lehigh Valley this Fall. Its election guide, believe it or not, lists this area as "safe Republican." And the Gray Lady also insists Rep. Charlie Dent is running unopposed. This must be news to Democratic nominee Charles Dertinger. Like Rodney Dangerfield, he gets no respect, even though he just managed to pick up endorsements from the AFL-CIO, Building & Construction Trades Council, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). He's fighting an upstream battle, even within his own party. One knowledgeable insider tells me Dertinger was actually excluded from a recent local fundraiser in Lehigh County. In a swing district that went Kerry's way in the last presidential election, why is this happening?
On Wednesday at 7 P.M, the Northampton/Progressive Alliance will be hosting a Q&A session with the Democratic candidate Charles Dertinger. The format? A roundtable discussion at Wegmans in Bethlehem off of Route 512. Dertinger can expect some tough questions from local progressives. If you have a few minutes, drop by and meet Charles.
I'll let you folks in on a little secret. I met both Charles and Charlie separately this summer for a very long chat. (Dertinger loves tea while Dent likes cobb salad) Both are very well-informed, hard working, and concerned about this district. We could do a lot worse. And both are actually fairly level-headed, no matter what you may hear from either side. I've been highly critical of both candidates in previous posts, but they impressed the hell out of me when I met them. Dent, in particular, is a very unassuming fellow for a Congressman. I'll be writing my own assessment of each candidate in the weeks to come, but it's more important now to hear what they have to say.
They are both entitled to a little respect.