PA-10: Rep. Tom Marino (R) to be Named Drug Czar

President Trump has nominated fourth-term Rep. Tom Marino (R), a frequent DEA critic who collaborated with former President Obama on a bill to combat the opioid epidemic, to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This position does not require Senate confirmation, so Marino is expected to resign from PA-10 in the next few days. After Marino resigns, Gov. Tom Wolf will have 10 days to set a date for a special election, which must take place at least 60 days after the vacancy. It does not appear that there is a deadline for the special election, and with Pennsylvania’s statewide off-year primary occurring too soon (May 16), Gov. Wolf may choose to wait things out and schedule this to coincide with the November 7 general election. There are no special primaries in Pennsylvania, so candidates will be selected by the state party committees, using party rules. Republicans hold a convention of party officials from the counties within the district to select their nominee. The Democratic nominee will be chosen by the statewide party’s 50-member executive committee, based on recommendation from county party leaders.

PA-10 is a mostly rural, upside-down-U-shaped R+16 seat in NEPA that wraps around the Wyoming Valley cites of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Historically, Republicans on the two sides of the district have not gotten along. The eastern arm of the district, which includes Scranton’s suburbs, the Poconos, and the furthest reaches of the NYC metro’s exurbs, is more industrialized and blue-collar, swinging bigly to Trump in 2016. The western arm, which is based in Williamsport but stretches from the Northern Tier deep into the heart of Pennsyltucky, produces more traditional rural Pennsylvania Republicans. Trump won this seat 66-30, up from Romney’s 60-38 win in 2012.

Because the GOP nominee will be selected by local party officials, it makes sense to start the Great Mentioner list with local elected officials. Only two state senators live in the district and neither is ideally positioned to run: State Sen. Mario Scavello (R) is from the Poconos region in the disconnected southeastern corner of the seat and may be an awkward geographic fit for district leaders, and State Sen. Gene Yaw (R), whose Williamsport district is an ideal geographic base, is 74 years old. There are about a dozen GOP State Reps. in the district, who are too numerous to go through here. From the prior candidate file, LG candidate and former state official Dan Meuser (R), who lost a primary for this seat in 2008, could be in the mix, as could Lackawanna County Commissioner Laureen Cummings (R), who ran for PA-17 in 2012 as an antiestablishment conservative but has since made peace with insiders, and Snyder County Commissioner Malcolm Derk (R), who lost the 2010 primary to Marino.

Democrats held a more competitive version of this seat from 2007-2011, when ex-Rep. Chris Carney (D) came in with the tide by defeating an incumbent who had beaten his mistress and then went out with the tide by losing to Marino. Carney has worked as a consultant with a large defense firm since losing; it’s reasonable to expect Democrats to at least make a phone call to him about a return. There appears to be a lone Democratic state legislator in this seat, State Rep. Mike Carroll (D), and Dems also control most of the local offices in Lackawanna County. Given that this is a red area that is only getting redder, it’s unlikely this special will be seriously contested unless the upcoming races in KS-04, GA-06, SC-05, and MT-AL signal broad electoral problems for the GOP.

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  • GOPTarHeel April 11, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Stop. Appointing. Elected. Officials.

    Or at least find a way to appoint ones like Mulvaney and not lockstep leadership votes.

    R/NC. Waiting for a non-ossified establishment or sane populists. Not optimistic.

    • GerGOP April 11, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Hear, hear.
      Remember the outrage when Obama appointed czars like crazy? Grantedt, it’s the first one. But no thanks.

  • Son_of_the_South April 11, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    It seems that both GOP state senators who cover most of the district will have issues running for it. Yaw is 74. Baker is just fine on the age front, but she lives in Luzerne County. I’d have to think we’ll get a lot of state reps running.

    24, R, TN-09
    Classical liberals are a minority. Fusionism is the answer.

  • Republican Michigander April 11, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Do we even need that position anymore? It should go to the state level.

    MI-08 - Michigan is a red state again. We need a 50 state strategy and an 83 county strategy.

    • TennesseeMike April 11, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      I agree, we could get rid of it. Any needed statements on how bad certain street drugs are could come from the Surgeon’s General office.

      TN-2 District. A Social and Fiscal Conservative Republican

  • Alton April 11, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Considering how every vote is needed on the House floor, I’m surprised he wants to pull another Rep. Also, KS-04 seems to be closer than expected, so I’d imagine this must be giving the NRCC a bit of an extra headache.


    • Ryan_in_SEPA April 11, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      This is Trumpland. If this seat is close, we are in deep shit.

      31, PA-6, fiscally conservative communitarian, Giant Meteor 2020 - Just End It Already!

      • Son_of_the_South April 11, 2017 at 2:49 pm

        Yeah. Remember, kids, this district’s margin was one of the big counterpunches that ate away at Clinton’s 470,000-vote Philly win.

        24, R, TN-09
        Classical liberals are a minority. Fusionism is the answer.

      • Tekzilla April 11, 2017 at 3:16 pm

        Under normal circumstances would Carney even have a chance?

        36/M/NY-01 (D)

        • Ryan_in_SEPA April 11, 2017 at 4:07 pm

          No. This seat is more conservative than the 2000s version. Carney would have not won in 2006 in this district against the mistress beater.

          The biggest threat here is the local Republicans having a civil war like the 2008 primary. The county GOPs in this seat are tribal in mentality.

          31, PA-6, fiscally conservative communitarian, Giant Meteor 2020 - Just End It Already!

  • VastBlightKingConspiracy April 11, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    You’re ****ing joking me. Quite possibly one of the worst choices imaginable. The DEA hates him.

    I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Republican.

  • StatenIslandTest April 11, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Paging Chris Christie lol

    32, Jersey City

  • dpmapper April 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Well, at least this gets Marino out of the House.

  • Ryan_in_SEPA April 11, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    This is going to be epic.

    31, PA-6, fiscally conservative communitarian, Giant Meteor 2020 - Just End It Already!

    • FitchMike26 April 11, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      The PoliticsPA article makes it sound like an epic shitshow, in both parties. I almost wonder if Wolf would try to leave the seat vacant until 2018 primary/general.

      37, PA-7 transplant, born & raised in the current PA-4 (the old PA-17).

      • Ryan_in_SEPA April 11, 2017 at 6:28 pm

        He will likely call it for the 2017 general.

        31, PA-6, fiscally conservative communitarian, Giant Meteor 2020 - Just End It Already!

        • edtorres04 April 11, 2017 at 7:31 pm

          Ryan, that might be good since there is no philly mayor race. This will get republicans out to the polls. Are there any supreme court races this year?

          • w920us April 11, 2017 at 7:44 pm

            Part of me wishes we could move Philadelphia local elections to February like Chicago.

            R, South Philly, 47, Gay, WFU Alum
            #TrumpVoter #NeverHillary

          • Ryan_in_SEPA April 11, 2017 at 7:45 pm

            1 PA Supreme, 4 Superior Court, and 2 Commonwealth Court.

            31, PA-6, fiscally conservative communitarian, Giant Meteor 2020 - Just End It Already!

  • StatenIslandTest April 11, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    This seat is in 4 media markets:
    Wilkes-Barre: 73 pct
    Elmira: 5 pct
    Harrisburg: 14 pct
    New York: 8 pct

    Surprisingly none of the 11th or 17th are in Ny market.

    32, Jersey City

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