In 2016, the margin between Naughton and State Rep. Steve Santarsiero was 16,557.
On her second try, Naughton simply could not recapture her success in the middle of Bucks County.
A big part of this was the fact that Santarsiero’s legislative district covers Lower Makefield, Newtown and Morrisville. In fact, Lower Makefield saw a seismic ninety-two point swing from Strouse to Santarsiero (39%-61% to 86%-14%).
Naughton, though, couldn’t make up ground in other areas of Lower Bucks. In fact, she was virtually shut out except for some rural areas in Montgomery County and the Northwest corner of Bucks.
Her misfortune could extend to the GOP as well, however, if Santarsiero’s strength translates to November.
The Democrats last won a competitive race for this seat in 2006, when Patrick Murphy edged out Mike Fitzpatrick. Murphy, though, benefited from the district’s old lines which included a part of Northeast Philly and Lower Montco instead of rural Upper Montco.
Another factor working in Fitzpatrick’s favor is that Republicans did a better job of turning out the vote. 104,715 citizens of the 8th District voted in the GOP presidential race compared to 92,136 who voted on the Democratic side. As a result, 94,525 Republicans (90.27%) voted in the PA-8 race while 84,177 (91.36%) Democrats cast a ballot.
Philly.com compared the vote totals of Clinton and Trump in Philadelphia’s collar counties.
As you can see, while Trump dominates in Upper Bucks and Montco, Clinton performed well in Lower Bucks (as well as Doylestown and New Hope).
But will any of that even matter? After all, if Brian can just perform like Mike he should be good.
The big difference, though, is Mike Fitzpatrick usually carried most of Santarsiero’s district. He even did so in 2006, his one and only loss in a Congressional contest.
The State Rep. did phenomenally well in his district in the primary and it stands to reason it will be bluer than normal come November.
Therefore, Brian Fitzpatrick won’t win as many crossover voters in that area as his brother typically did.
As a result, if Santarsiero can run up the numbers in Bristol and win over neighboring Bensalem then the race will likely come down to Middletown and Falls Townships.