By Zach Lindsey
Democratic candidate Matthew Cartwright will spar with incumbent Democrat Tim Holden in the primary for a 17th Congressional District that will include part of the Lehigh Valley.
Most of the Lehigh Valley currently lies in the 15th Congressional District.
However, redistricting cut the Valley in half, with changes to take effect after this year's elections.
In all, 20 Northampton County municipalities and parts of three others -- including all of Easton, Nazareth and a chunk of the Slate Belt -- will shift to the 17th District and be represented by the winner of this race.
Cartwright is an attorney with 26 years of courtroom experience. He lives in
Luzerne County and says he visited Easton about 14 times during the campaign season.
"I'm the same guy wherever I go," he said.
Holden is a Congressman of 20 years, and was Schuylkill County sheriff for seven.
"I promise that I will be visible, I will be accessible and I will be in touch with the people of Northampton County," Holden said.
Cartwright has not held elected office. He was a delegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention, a district governor for Rotary International, a member of an executive committee of the Northeastern Pa. Boy Scouts, director of the Free Legal Clinic and has held other board positions.
Health care accessibility, job creation and infrastructure investment are Cartwright's top goals.
A member of the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Holden said the committees on which he serves "are important to Pennsylvania and Northampton County."
He is a centrist Democrat, according to govtrack.us, which analyzes bill sponsorships. He and his wife live in Saint Clair, Pa., the town in which he was born.
The revised 17th District includes parts of Schuylkill, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Carbon, Monroe and Northampton counties. About 80 percent of the municipalities in the 17th District now won't be in it after this election cycle.
The winner of the April 24 primary between Democratic Congressional candidates Tim Holden and Matthew Cartwright will take on Republican Laureen Cummings.
Cummings will be at the Northampton County Government Center in Easton at 4:30 p.m. Sunday to officially announce her candidacy.
Cummings, an active Republican Committee member from Old Forge, Pa., and founder of the Scranton Tea Party, wants to abolish the Internal Revenue Service and said she will work to eliminate costly, unnecessary bureaucracy.
She has also served two years as secretary for the Greater Northeast Chamber of Commerce, is a nurse and small business owner and, in 2003, was named top businesswoman by the National Republican Congressional Committee Business Advisory Council.