Midstate Congressman Tom Marino draws GOP primary challenger

Written by The Associated Press | Nov 30, 2017 11:44 AM

Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko (Photo by Scott Detrow/StateImpact Pennsylvania)

(Harrisburg) -- An outspoken county commissioner from northern Pennsylvania says he'll challenge midstate Congressman Tom Marino in next year's Republican primary.

In announcing his candidacy, Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko is citing Marino's role in writing a law that critics say weakened the government's authority to stop drug companies from distributing opioids.

He is also accusing the four-term lawmaker of soliciting campaign contributions from drug companies and then sponsoring legislation that allowed them to flood communities with opioids.

"I've sat in the living rooms of friends and family who have lost loved ones to this tragic addiction," McLinko said. "I'm a loyal Republican, but after watching the 60 Minutes report and hearing from families across the district, it is obvious Tom Marino puts the interests of campaign contributors ahead of the health and safety of his constituents. His actions are indefensible. Republicans need to replace Tom Marino before Democrats defeat him in November."

The proposal passed without opposition in Congress and was signed by former President Obama last year.

But criticism of the law in October forced Marino to withdraw his nomination to be President Donald Trump's national drug czar.

He defends the law as ensuring access to medications while allowing the Drug Enforcement Agency to prevent the abuse of prescription drugs. 

The district includes Juniata, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry and Snyder counties.

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