PA1: Cook Moves Race From Leans Republican to Toss Up
Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman changed the ratings of five seats this morning, including Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s (R-Bucks) re-election bid against Democrat Scott Wallace.
The election analyst writes that President Trump is not wildly popular in this Philadelphia suburban district and that is defining the race, coupled with missed opportunities from the NRCC and Fitzpatrick’s campaign.
“This Bucks County seat appeared to be slipping away from Democrats when they nominated multi-millionaire former lobbyist Scott Wallace and Fitzpatrick was endorsed by the AFL-CIO and Gabrielle Giffords. But with six weeks to go, Republicans haven’t disqualified Wallace and the Democrat’s prodigious self-funding is keeping him in close contention with the incumbent,” Wasserman wrote. “Right now, President Trump’s unpopularity is defining the race, and that’s bad for the GOP.”
In the month of July, Cook moved the race in Fitzpatrick’s favor from Toss Up to Leans Republican, but with six weeks out, Democrats across the country are seeing ratings changes in their favor.
The Fitzpatrick campaign is not taking the race for granted, but want to remind people they’ve been in this situation before.
“During the entirety of the 2016 cycle, this race was listed as a ‘toss-up,‘ and Brian Fitzpatrick won that race by nine points,” said Genevieve Malandra, spokeswoman, Team Fitzpatrick. “For this current race, Nate Silver and FiveThirty-Eight.com have Brian Fitzpatrick as a 75% odds-on favorite at winning re-election.”
The Wallace campaign sees this as a pivotal moment in the race and believe their message is resonating with voters.
“This is a clear indication that Scott Wallace has all the momentum in this race and that Brian Fitzpatrick’s smear attacks
Wasserman believes that Fitzpatrick should be pitching voters on his moderation and support for Democrats in ads.
The Fitzpatrick campaign boasted about their endorsements from the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while again reiterating his “independent” status to distance themselves from their opponent.
“Our campaign is focused on highlighting Brian’s positions on the issues that matter most to the voters of the 1st Congressional District, like fighting the opioid epidemic and fighting to protect Medicare and Social Security,” said Malandra. “Scott Wallace’s money cannot cover up that he is, in the words of the Cook Political Report, ‘a badly flawed candidate’ and a ‘walking disaster’.”
The Wallace campaign doesn’t buy the efforts from the Fitzpatrick campaign and thinks Wallace is standing for the issues most important to the people of the 1st district.
“Families in PA-01 support Scott Wallace because he isn’t taking a dime in corporate PAC or lobbyist money and they can trust him to protect their health care, clean air and water, a woman’s right to choose, and be a reliable check on Donald Trump,” said Wilson-Meyer.
Secretary Hillary Clinton edged out President Donald Trump by a couple of points in these boundaries in 2016, while Republican Sen. Pat Toomey was awarded re-election over Democratic candidate Katie McGinty by nearly 5 points.
The full Cook analysis can be found here.
This story was updated with comments from the Fitzpatrick and Wallace campaigns.