Trump appointee looks to face Cartwright
By OWEN WALSH
WAYNE COUNTY, PA — Staunchly supporting President Donald Trump has been a focal point throughout the duration of Jim Bognet’s …
WAYNE COUNTY, PA — Staunchly supporting President Donald Trump has been a focal point throughout the duration of Jim Bognet’s campaign to face Rep. Matt Cartwright in this year’s general election. Bognet, a former Trump administration appointee, is one of six Republican candidates vying for their party’s nomination in the June 2 primary.
Bognet grew up in Hazelton, PA in a family with a background in construction. He got a scholarship to attend Penn State University and got a law degree. After graduating, Bognet worked for Rep. Lou Barletta’s campaign in 2002. As a Trump appointee, Bognet served as senior vice president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bognet continues to side with the president, recently airing a television ad promising to “make China pay” if he is elected.
“China covered up and lied about coronavirus, which has caused tens of thousands of more deaths than there needed to be if they came clean about how it started, when it started, provided all the genetic sequencing of the virus immediately,” he said. “We have the full force and weight of the United States government, we buy a tremendous amount of products from them; we can confront them.”
Bognet said that he is “very supportive of a lot of elements” of the Forging Operational Resistance to Chinese Expansion (FORCE) Act, recently introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. The legislation includes a $43 million investment “for military infrastructure, weapons and other assets in the Indo-Pacific region to further compete effectively with China.”
On the domestic front, Bognet has also been sharply critical of Pennsylvania Democrats like Cartwright and Gov. Tom Wolf. He faults the governor for presenting a “false choice between safety and speed,” saying that the northeast region should have been reopened much more quickly than Wolf has allowed.
“It comes down to kind of a fundamental way you view the world. I believe there are no non-essential businesses,” Bognet said. “Every business is essential to its employees who depend on it for their livelihood, to its owner who’s often put a lot of money and a lot of years of their life into making it successful, and to the customers who depend on it.”
Bognet said that, had it been up to him, he would have focused on how to maintain social distancing and safety while keeping businesses open. He referred to Wolf’s orders as a “dictatorial fiat from Harrisburg.”
As for Cartwright, Bognet continues using what appears to be his favorite moniker for the congressman, “Nancy Pelosi’s lapdog,” saying that he has supported the Democratic Speaker of the House “100 percent through this crisis.” He accuses Cartwright of being “AWOL” throughout the pandemic.
“Matt Cartwright should be up here, on the streets, talking to business owners in Hazleton and Hazle Township, talking to business owners in Wayne County, talking to business owners in Pike County,” he said.
On non-COVID-19 issues, Bognet checks off many of the expected boxes in a Northeast PA Republican’s campaign. He supports “building the wall” to stop illegal immigration, promises to be tough on drug traffickers in an effort to fight the opioid epidemic, supports a pro-life agenda and Second Amendment rights, opposes Obamacare, and describes the idea of banning fracking as “over-regulation” and said that doing so would hurt job growth.
Bognet has looked to set himself apart from the other Republicans in the field by boasting his first-quarter fundraising total of about $276,000. He has also branded himself as a “Trump Republican,” pledging to support the president more wholeheartedly than some of the other candidates in this race.
Jim Bognet is running against Mike Marsicano, Harry Haas, Teddy Daniels, Earl Granville and Mikel Cammisa in the June 2 primary election. The winner will face Rep. Matt Cartwright in this year’s general election in November.
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