It is a district that Pennsylvania Democrats have been salivating over.
It’s the 1st Congressional District seat and it is held by moderate Republican Brian Fitzpatrick who labels himself an “independent voice” in the moderate district that covers all of Bucks County and part of Montgomery County.
The former FBI special agent and attorney easily dispatched Christina Finello in 2020 on his way to a third term in Washington.
Fitzpatrick is being challenged by Democrat Ashley Ehasz, a former Army pilot and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
The PA-01 seat has been long coveted by Democrats. FiveThirtyEight.com says its model “clearly favors” Fitzpatrick, while Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia says the seat is “likely Republican.”
There are 15 seats held by the GOP where President Joe Biden outperformed Trump. The only one in Pennsylvania – PA-01 – captured by Biden by five points.
Fitzpatrick raised $406,561 in the second quarter of this year, while Ehasz brought in $166,153. The incumbent has nearly $1.03 million in the bank as opposed to just $146,972 in his opponent’s coffers.
We asked the candidates about some of the issues of the day to help Bucks and Montgomery County voters make their decision.
Do You Believe That Joe Biden Was Legitimately Elected President?
Ehasz: “As a veteran, I am mortified that we even have to address the fundamental question of whether Joe Biden was elected as President. I did not swear an oath to defend the constitution, to then see my opponent Brian Fitzpatrick join other politicians in sending signed letters to the Governor questioning the legitimacy of the results of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania. These types of staged political stunts that politicians like Fitzpatrick pull to cast doubt on our democratic process are cowardly, self-serving and disgraceful.”
Your Thoughts On Roe v. Wade Being Overturned and the Future for Abortion Rights in This Country?
Fitzpatrick: “As state legislatures across America begin to consider legislation on this extremely sensitive topic in response to the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs, I urge all state legislatures to always start from a place of empathy and compassion. Any legislative consideration must start with the process of seeing the world through other people’s eyes and walking the world in other people’s shoes. Any legislative consideration must always seek to achieve bipartisan consensus that both respects a woman’s privacy and autonomy and respects the sanctity of human life. These principles are not mutually exclusive; both can and must be achieved.
“As a model for states to follow, a good starting point is the bipartisan, bicameral framework that I supported. In the 115th Congress, it was assigned H.R. 36, and it received bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.
“In our community, and across America, the vast and overwhelming majority do not support rigid, single-party, all-or-nothing solutions. The vast and overwhelming majority do not support complete legislative bans, nor do they support a legislative-absent Wild West “anything-goes” scenario that would allow for the atrocities committed by Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia. As our community, and our nation, do not support all-or-nothing approaches, nor should any representative who seeks to reflect the will of the people. The bipartisan, bicameral approach reflected in H.R. 36 is a good starting point for state legislatures across America to begin building bipartisan bridges and consensus.
“At the core of our democracy must always be the goal of building bridges, not driving wedges. This issue, as sensitive as it is, must be approached in this same manner. With empathy, with understanding, and with compassion. I urge all state legislatures, including in my own state of Pennsylvania, to follow this lead. Support two-party solutions. Reject single-party solutions. Build bridges, don’t drive wedges.”
Ehasz: “I flew Apaches over Baghdad to protect this country, and now as a woman, myself and every American who needs access to abortion has had their constitutional rights stripped away. My opponent, Brian Fitzpatrick, vowed to defund Planned Parenthood and has voted to restrict the right to choose nationwide, even in the case of threat to a mother’s health and in some cases of rape and incest. Within the last year, he has voted twice against codifying Roe v. Wade, even after the Supreme Court overturned the ruling, which is an absolute disservice to the constituents he claims to represent.”
What Are Your Thoughts On Preventing Gun Violence In This Country?
Fitzpatrick: “My great-uncle, Philip Fitzpatrick, was a proud patrolman with the NYPD. He was shot while attempting to disarm a robber at a Manhattan bar – a fatal injury he succumbed to days later. Along with my family’s experience of losing my great-uncle, I also have had to confront the brutal reality of gun violence as a former FBI agent.
“Our nation has witnessed far too many school tragedies caused by gun violence, and the highest responsibility that we have as elected officials and as human beings is to protect our kids. No parent in my district or anywhere in this country should ever have to fear sending their child to school. It is incumbent upon all of us to identify the root causes of this violence, put aside partisanship and work toward solutions to address it immediately so that we can protect all families.
“I have long been a leader of bipartisan gun safety legislation such as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, the NICS Denial Notification Act, and the Raise the Age Act. While we have much more to do for gun safety and to keep our children and communities secure, I was proud to vote for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was a step in the right direction. I will continue to ensure that gun safety remains a bipartisan issue.”
Ehasz: “As a veteran, I support the 2nd Amendment, but it is because I have seen combat, and know the responsibility that comes with handling a firearm, that I believe there is no excuse for the inaction of lawmakers who are unwilling to prevent guns from getting into the hands of the wrong person. The most immediate actions Congress can and must take are passing universal background check legislation, creating legal pathways to holding gun manufacturers accountable when their weapons are used in incidents of gun violence, and banning the very weapons of war that I saw overseas from being owned here at home.”
Biggest Problem Facing Pennsylvania? Facing The Country?
Fitzpatrick: “Pennsylvanians and working families are seeing rising gas prices at the pump and rampant inflation. America needs energy independence. It’s time to reopen the Keystone Pipeline and end our dependence on foreign oil that helps fund dictators’ wars. We cannot allow thugs like Putin to use energy manipulation for geostrategic leverage. That is why I support an all of the above approach to energy investment, including hydrogen, nuclear, solar, and wind, and expanded extension of tax incentives for investments in renewable energy and efficiency programs. I also support a paid-for gas tax holiday to provide immediate relief for Pennsylvanians. Additionally, my top priorities would include combating the opioid and addiction crisis by expanding access to treatment and providing resources (like in my bipartisan INTERDICT Act that was signed into law) for our law enforcement to stop the illicit flow of deadly drugs like fentanyl into our communities. We must also fix a broken Washington with a government reform plan that challenges career politicians: term limits for members of Congress, pass a budget or don’t get paid, and balance the budget.
“Americans have seen empty supermarket shelves, labor shortages, and the shutting down of businesses. Families are suffering from rising prices of food, fuel, and everything in between. Americans know this is what happens when a far-left spending agenda is implemented. This is why I voted against both the so-called “American Rescue Plan” and the so-called “Build Back Better” legislation. When the government provides incentives for not working, we see supply chain disruptions. Excessive government spending overheats demand. Too much money chasing too few goods results in massive inflation, which is a tax on every single American family, and it especially hurts lower-income Americans and our seniors who live on a fixed income. Far-left economic theory simply does not work. Socialism and even more reckless government spending is not the answer. I support the Balanced Budget Amendment. We should manage the Federal government the same way we manage our households and our families: only spend what you have. We must also ease burdensome regulations on our small businesses so that they can begin to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.”
Ehasz: “When I was a kid, I put water in my cereal because we couldn’t afford more milk from the store, and it’s children like this that are let down by Brian Fitzpatrick’s votes against lowering gas prices and against paid family leave, and his votes to defund family planning services. Politicians like Brian Fitzpatrick are selling out families around the country, and if our representatives would just start thinking about future generations and stop thinking about politics, maybe we’d have a fighting chance.”