State Senator Gene Yaw, a Republican from Williamsport, who has been a leader in the Legislature on opioid issues, said the strong Republican lean of Mr. Marino’s 10th District might not be enough to ensure his re-election if he seeks a fifth term next year.
“The drug problem is nonpartisan,” Mr. Yaw said. “There’s no question the pharmaceutical companies have contributed to it.’’ He said the controversy over Mr. Marino’s withdrawal from consideration to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy was “not a plus” for his political future. (NYT)
Given President Trump's reputation for rewarding loyalty, even for those who come under tremendous, well-deserved, scrutiny, Congressman Tom Marino’s withdrawal from consideration for the country's top drug post speaks volumes about the controversy surrounding his leadership on legislation
that weakened the federal government’s ability to hold drug manufacturers accountable for their role in encouraging the opioid epidemic in Northeastern Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Tom Marino is my congressman in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Trip Gabriel of the New York Times
asked my thoughts on how the revelations are likely to affect Marino and Pennsylvania politics. I answered that Congressman Marino’s political and electoral support is obviously likely to suffer as a result of the explosive allegations. Like much of the country, Northeastern Pennsylvania has been hit hard by opioid abuse. At least 231 residents of Lackawanna County, many of whom are Marino's constituents, died of overdoses between 2014 and 2017. The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development, which whom I have collaborated, reported
on the crisis last year.
It was only last month that attorneys for Lackawanna County filed a civil lawsuit
against 14 drug companies for their responsibility in "spawning the opioid epidemic." Marino spearheaded legislation in Congress that has made it more difficult for the Drug Enforcement Agency to hold pharmaceutical agencies accountable.
|Overdose project in front of Scranton courthouse October 19, 2017 |
It is quite possible that Marino's electoral support will also erode because of the country's low approval of President Trump. Congressman Marino was one of his earliest and most outspoken proponents during the campaign. You can see how the opioid controversy and his close relationship with President Trump are likely going to make Marino's reelection more difficult.
However, the congressman has comfortably controlled his seat in Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district for nearly one decade. He won his seat in 2010 even though he had been under investigation by the Department of Justice. Therefore, he has successfully overcome scandal previously (obviously that could go both ways).
His ability to continue in office will depend upon voters’ willingness to hold him personally responsible for legislation that passed with bipartisan support, even if legislators and the Obama administration were not entirely aware of what changes they were endorsing, and the quality of his challenger.
It is really too early to understand the electoral implications of these allegations given that we are only days removed from their publication. They are likely to hurt his electoral prospects but perhaps not enough to cause him to withdraw from re-election or to lose. At a minimum, it might cause him to reconsider running for the governor's office.
You can read the story in Harsh Words Back Home for Tom Marino, Congressman Tied to Opioid Law