WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — From your Local Election Headquarters tonight, we are less than 100 days from the November general election. One of the most closely watched races in our region and across the country is that for the seat in the 8th Congressional District.

Republican Jim Bognet is challenging incumbent Democrat Matt Cartwright. The race is heating up. Bognet insists it is time for a change while Cartwright argues that he is in the best position to help the people of the 8th District because of his seniority in the House.

Bognet, from Hazle Township, says one of his top priorities will be to create new jobs in the 8th District.

“We need a congressman who will fight for jobs, who will go after companies and bring them here. I come from the construction business and my family is in construction. We need to build a foundation for our economy here. That’s what I’ll do every day in Congress,” Bognet said.

Incumbent Democrat Matt Cartwright from Moosic is seeking a fifth term. He says he too is focused on bringing new higher paying jobs to the 8th District and cites his seniority that can help make that happen.

“I’m not saying we can fix the entire economy in that but we can do an awful lot with a lot more federal dollars filtering through our local economy and that is my goal,” Cartwright said.

The 8th District encompasses all of Wayne, Pike and Lackawanna Counties and portions of Luzerne and Monroe Counties. Both candidates talked about their goals for the district and COVID-19 is in both of their sights.

“We have a great area. Northeastern Pennsylvania is a great place to live. We have great communities. We can beat COVID. We can bring back jobs and we can have a brighter future together,” said Bognet.

“In the short term, the goals are dealing with this pandemic and making sure people are safe as we can make them and working our way out of this economic slump. Getting people back to work in a safe way as we can figure out,” said Cartwright.

Bognet wants to debate Cartwright in all five counties of the district. Cartwright has committed to one, arguing that he holds regular town meetings across the district and other public events.

“As far as more, look, I’m doing this job. My opponent is just running for office. I’m still doing this job and we are in the middle of the biggest crisis of my lifetime dealing with the twin crises of the pandemic and the economy about to slip into a depression if we don’t continue to find ways to prop it up,” said Cartwright.

But Bognet insists the more debates, the better.

“I believe we need to answer questions from our constituents. We need to hear from our constituents. We need to debate the issues of the day in front of the voters,” Bognet said.

We will have special reports on key races across our region in the days and weeks ahead as we move closer to the November election.