This is another posting on the 8th congressional district race between freshman incumbent Republican Mike Fitzpatrick and Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy.
Those who keep up with such things will remember that Mike Fitzpatrick was picked to step in to the GOP spot for the 8th congressional district two years ago when incumbent Rep. Jim Greenwood dropped out of the race to become CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
You may know that prior to this Fitzpatrick had been a Bucks County Commissioner. What you may not know is that he was also appointed to that position as well.
Prior to that he lost in the 1990 and 1994 general elections to Democratic state Rep. Anthony J. Melio for the 141st district (he won the 1990 primary against the endorsed candidate) (1/18/95)
Let’s start there and move forward. After graduating from Dickinson School of Law in 1988, he worked at the law firm of Jackson, Cook, Caracappa & Bloom. In 1993 went to Begley, Carlin & Mandio firm.
“Possibly no other professional firm influences more decisions in the Bucks County government than Begley, Carlin, & Mandio, whose law offices in Langhorne look out on the Oxford Valley mall.
In the last year alone, its lawyers have negotiated the sale of the county-owned Point Pleasant Pumping Station, assisted in the sale of 39 acres of land in Bristol Borough to a casino company, and advised top officials at the Bucks County Community College in labor talks with employees. These legal services have provided the firm, whose lawyers also are among the largest contributors to the Bucks county Republican Party, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and a hand in the running of county affairs.” (1/08/95)
“William Carlin, a partner in the law form and an old friend of local Republic Party boss Harry Fawkes, began those sale negotiations (Point Pleasant Pumping Station) in 1993. Fitzpatrick did not work on the transaction.” (1/12/95)
When then Bucks Count Commissioner Mark Schweiker became lieutenant governor, a replacement was needed.
“County GOP Chairman Harry W. Fawkes had made it no secret that Fitzpatrick was the person he favored for the job.
“He’s the one I would like to see get the position,” Fawkes said last week.” (1/18/95)
“But Fawkes, county GOP chairman, made it clear Fitzpatrick was his No. 1 choice for the job, and the executive committee gave him 80 of 81 votes, more votes than for anyone else.” (1/21/95)
Thus, Fitzpatrick became a county commissioner. He was re-elected three times. In July, 2004, sitting Congressman Jim Greenwood decided not to seek re-election. Three weeks later, a special nomination commission was held on Aug. 12 to decide on his replacement.
“When 128 Republican from the 8th district meet in a special nominating convention to pick a candidate to replace retiring Congressman Jim Greenwood, 121 of them will have been handpicked by Bucks County Republican Party Chairman Harry Fawkes.
At that nominating convention – which could take place as early as next week – the conferees will stand before their fellow Republicans and voice their choice: Bucks County Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick or state Sen. Joe Conti, R-10.
Also in that room will be Fawkes, a vocal Fitzpatrick supporter. (7/30/04)”
A week later this was published:
“Both men have heavy hitters in their corners. Fitzpatrick has the blessing of the county party chairman, Harry Fawkes, and of State. Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, R-6. Conti has the support of Greenwood, who went so far as to help pay for a poll that showed the senator shares with Fitzpatrick nearly identical name recognition among voters.
Name recognition aside, however, many conferees said Fitzpatrick probably has the inside track to the nomination because of Fawkes’ endorsement and because as commissioner he’s worked closely with the people who’ll be screening the two candidates.” (8/05/04)
You could say it’s sour grapes, because I’ve never had any connections to tap, but it always bothers me to see someone get tapped for things because they have connections. A partner at his law firm, which does a lot of business with the county and whose employees are political donors, is good buddies with the county party chairman, who picks him to become county commissioner and nine years later picks him to step into a congressional race. How comfortable are you with the loyalties that engenders?
Voters in the 8th district have a choice in this election. I hope they will look carefully at the candidates.
Fernandez, Bob, “Bucks GOP to recommend a successor for Schweiker,” Philadelphia Inquirer 1/12/95
Fernandez, Bob, “Member of influential law firm gets push to fill commissioner post the GOP boss is supporting the candidacy of Michael Fitzpatrick” Philadelphia Inquirer 1/08/95
Funk, Leslie Klein, “Bucks candidate blasts judges – commissioner hopeful says 11 jurists blindly chose rival” Morning Call 1/21/95
Funk, Leslie Klein, “Fitzpatrick is sworn in while Lingenfelter vows court fight,” Morning Call 1/24/95
Funk, Leslie Klein, “Fitzpatrick replaces Schweiker,” Morning Call 1/18/95
Martinez, Rick, “No secret ballot in this vote,” Bucks County Courier Times 7/30/04
Martinez, Rick, “Short campaign for Greenwood’s seat,” Bucks County Courier Times 8/05/04