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DCCC Tries to Squeeze Fitzpatrick with Retirement Narrative

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has battled Fitzpatricks in the Philadelphia suburbs for the better part of two decades. Six out of seven times, they’ve come up short. The 2018 candidacy of Scott Wallace was as close as Democrats got since former Rep. Patrick Murphy ousted former Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick in 2006. 

This week, the DCCC tried a novel approach: encouraging two-term Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick to retire. As suburban districts around the country shift away from the Republican Party under President Donald Trump, the committee launched social media ads in the Bucks-based first district. 

“Republicans in Washington know their health care repeal agenda is historically unpopular, and instead of running yet another tough campaign for the next 15 months they’re heading for the exits,” said DCCC spokesperson Mike Gwin. “Frankly, you can’t blame them and these ads serve to remind Congressman Fitzpatrick of the better life so many of their colleagues are choosing, rather than return to life in the minority in Washington.”

Fitzpatrick was added to the DCCC’s “Retirement Watch List” last week after 7 Republicans in Congress announced they were retiring in the span of two weeks. The website FiveThirtyEight listed him as a “possible retiree.” Fitzpatrick has told the Bucks County Courier Times that he plans on seeking a third term in Congress. And he’s been raising the money to do it: his $812,000 at the end of July was ahead of his cash on hand at this point last cycle. 

Like his brother, Rep. Fitzpatrick has walked a fine line to distance himself from the national GOP brand. He has consistently broken party ranks, voting with Democrats against repealing the ACA in 2017, condemning Trump’s tweet telling four Democratic women of color in Congress to “go home,” supporting HR 5, which addressed banning discrimination against LGBT people, and voting to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act

However, Fitzpatrick has lined up with Trump and the GOP on some high-profile issues, like his support for the tax reform bill, his vote against holding Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. in contempt of Congress for not complying with subpoenas authorized by the Oversight Committee relating to the 2020 census, and his vote against proceeding with articles of impeachment against Trump. 

The National Republican Congressional Committee said that Fitzpatrick will win his next reelection bid and said the ad buy was a waste of money. 

“It’s highly entertaining watching the socialist Democrats waste their money begging like a dog for Brian Fitzpatrick to retire,” said NRCC Spokesman Michael McAdams. “Unfortunately for them, Rep. Fitzpatrick will run and will win, yet again.”

After defeating Wallace by just over 2.5 points in November 2018 in boundaries that narrowly went to Sec. Hillary Clinton, Fitzpatrick has moved even more to the middle. A Roll Call story in early June showed that Fitzpatrick experienced a 16.6 point decline in party unity score during this session of Congress at that point in time compared to the previous term.

Three Democrats have officially filed with the FEC to run in the 1st District: Bucks County Prothonotary Judi Reiss, Pennsbury School Board member Debbie Wachpress, and Ivyland Borough Councilwoman and Bucks County Deputy Director of Housing and Human Services Christina Finello.

Fitzpatrick’s voting record has also invited a pro-Trump Republican and financial advisor, Andrew Meehan into the race. 

The DCCC said the ad buy was in the four digit range, indicating more of a play at the media narrative than broader voter persuasion.

8 Responses

  1. I agree with Dr. Bob, except there is one problem with his advice. There is no “tying himself to The Donald” for Congressman Fitzpatrick. That ship sailed FOR GOOD weeks ago when he joined The Squad to censure the President over baseless and ridiculous claims that his tweets about their anti-American rhetoric were somehow “racist”. He made his Trump hating bed, now he can sleep in it. Trump supporters are DONE with Congressman Fitzpatrick, as Dr. Bob clearly witnessed with the standing ovation I received when announcing my candidacy to the capacity crowd at The Buck. As for my positive platform, please visit my website and see how my agenda lines up with the values of PA-01 voters. Or just call me and I’ll tell you all about it myself! 215-796-0636
    Thank you,
    Andy Meehan
    Republican Candidate for Congress PA-01

    1. Tell me what you think the squad said that was anti american, and back it up with evidence that doesn’t involve the presidents mischaracterization of what they said.

      If you think you can support the president while having a “positive” platform, get real. It will be more fear mongering against brown people, muslims, and foreigners. More eroding of american values, more deterioration of american standing in the world. I would vote Fitz over you all day long.

      With that said, Fitz is a calculated politician who only sides with Dems when his votes absolutely don’t matter to give him an image of being moderate. All of these strong words against the president and siding with the squad had no consequences at the end of the day. When votes comes down to the line, he’s with the president 100%.

  2. THis won’t fall on the BCDC. It’ll be on DCCC and national which doesn’t have the best track record for down ballot candidates. The issue will be how extreme their nominee plays. People split ballots frequently in PA so it’s not a Trump vs. Nominee situation. Its a well educated district that leans left social but right economically. It not the most diverse districts but union issues play bigger in and around Bristol so a moderate R like Fitzpatrick is successful but don’t expect a far left candidate to be successful in the long term.

    Its a pretty bad messaging campaign frankly. Why would we retire? It’s stupid and obvious and doesn’t give enough reason to get Fitzpatrick out.

    1. I just meant the BCDC has to be better with candidate recruitment. The ad falls squarely on the shoulders of the DCCC. But you can’t defeat Fitzpatrick without a superior candidate. And they can’t recruit a superior candidate because they are so unorganized and amateurish. They have a clique and cannot see past it. It is truly unfortunate.

  3. The BCDC has to do better if they actually want to defeat Fitzpatrick. Have to stop stroking their own egos, chasing money, and screwing over good candidates. I don’t see them actually getting themselves together and doing that so Fitzpatrick will have another term. Congrats Brian!

  4. Fitzpatrick will win the primary with 70% of the electorate. He will then move and defeat 1 of the dems by 7%. Dems had their shot and choose an elitist who didn’t connect with lower county working class.

    1. Dream on Sean. The reality is that 2020 is Trump mania time with all the political air being drawn out of the room by Trump to the detriment of Fitzpatrick. No one will pay any attention to his being a so called “moderate” and all folks will see in Bucks and suburban Philly is an opportunity to send Washington a message by defeating Fitz and he will be defeated soundly. Sorry to say you can’t replay 2018 as much as it is desirable to do so. 2020 is another time and place so fasten your seat belts because as they say in the movies, “it’s going to be a politically bumpy ride for Fitz.”

      1. This may be true, but the import is that Fitz would do well to tie himself to The Donald who is increasingly enjoying support from Blacks/Hispanics; his primary challengers launched with positive vibes (@ the Buck Hotel), but must assemble a positive/assertive platform beyond supporting the POTUS.

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