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Maps: PA-8 2016 Democratic Primary

In 2014, the PA-8 Democratic primary was incredibly close with just 817 votes separating the two candidates: Shaughnessy Naughton (green) and Kevin Strouse.


In 2016, the margin between Naughton and State Rep. Steve Santarsiero was 16,557.

PA-8 Santarsiero vs. Naughton Map

The maps above show just how big the difference is between a two-point victory and a twenty-point one.

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.


Of course, Mike Fitzpatrick isn’t running again but his younger brother Brian is. I was going to do a map of the GOP primary he won, but since he took 78% there didn’t seem to be much point.

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. compared the vote totals of Clinton and Trump in Philadelphia’s collar counties. SEPA Map

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.

Santarsiero District
HD-31: State Rep. Santarsiero’s District

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.

That means Levittown, birthplace of the Fitzpatricks and subject of countless think pieces on the American Dream could ultimately decide the PA-8 Congressional race.

11 Responses

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  2. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  3. Naughton’s campaign was flawed from the beginning using a 2014 playbook while failing to understand the political dynamics of 2016. In the age of Trump and Sanders, the economy and how the middle-class / working-class continues to fall behind is the issue at hand. Fracking and Planned Parenthood are issues that appeal to upper-income voters, but for the most part fail to resonate with the average Levittown voter.

  4. And Fitz2 won because of his stance on the issues…really?
    By November the voters will figure out who and what he is, and how he got there.

    Let’s be honest…Santarsiero by 12.

  5. Steve Santarsero won because of the ballot endorsement.

    Let’s be honest, Fitzpatrick by 10

  6. Everyone loves to blame Bensalem for the Commissioner’s race in ’07. First of all, it wasn’t that close, he lost by 1,500 votes, almost a full percentage point. Second, Bensalem Democrats have never shown up in large numbers in local elections, what made Diane and Steve, or Cordisco, think they would magically appear that year? Did they put any money into GOTV? Or did they simply send the same stupid mailers everyone else sends with the same predictable results. There’s your answer.

  7. Baxter G is right, it’s like something out of the Eddie Murphy movie, The Distinguished Gentlemen, where Murphy’s character shares a name with recently deceased congressman and uses his campaign signs to get elected.

  8. Your average ignoramus voter won’t realize that “Fitzpatrick” is not really Fitzpatrick. Notice how small ‘Brian’ was etched on those campaign signs? Exclude Brian on the general election signs and nobody will know.

  9. It all comes down to Levittown … so sayeth Nick Field, proud son of Levittown.

    I think he’s probably right (though I wouldn’t take Bensalem for granted if I were Steve … he remembers what happened in the Commissioners race in ’07).

  10. “if [Democrat] can run up the numbers in Bristol…”

    Relying on Bristol to turn out is the end of a lot of Democratic campaigns.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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