Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rematch in the 8th Congressional District

This past weekend Mike Fitzpatrick announced he was throwing his hat into the crowded field of people wishing to be the Republican candidate for the 8th congressional district. Fitzpatrick held the seat from 2004 to 2006, when he lost by a narrow margin to current 8th district Congressman Patrick Murphy.

In 2006 I wrote a blog post on Mr. Fitzpatrick's political history. Here is a quick synopsis:

In 1990 and 1994 he lost state house races.
In 1995 he was appointed to fill out a term as Bucks County Commissioner, and was then re-elected three times.

In 2004 when then Congressman Jim Greenwood decided to drop out of the congressional race, Fitzpatrick was selected to step in, less than 90 days before the election.

Two years later he lost to Murphy.

So while was in elected office for over a decade, he didn't really run for either of those offices. To the first he was appointed and for the second he stepped into an established campaign.

When announcing his candidacy Mr. Fitzpatrick said, among other remarks:

“Pat Murphy raises a lot of money, most of it from outside this district,” he said. “But I’ve got a message for him: He’s not going to buy this election.”

While Mr. Fitzpatrick has many positive qualities to recommend him, and I especially admire his work with the Boy Scouts, it would appear that knowledge of Congressman Murphy's campaign finance reports is not one of them. The Center for Responsive Politics website will give in state and out of state statistics and in none of Murphy's campaigns have most of his donations come from outside of Pennsylvania.

I did note that in 2006 49% of Fitzpatrick's donations came from PACS, and 45% from individuals. In 2005, 44% of his donations were from PACs, and 40% from individuals. Looking at the FEC reports for Fitzpatrick's earliest 2004 campaign finance report, July - October 2004, there are donations from PACS called Carolina Majority, Wisconsin Leadership PAC, and the Texas Freedom Fund. Dennis Hastert's leadership PAC donated, as did TomPAC, which included as one of its criteria supporting candidates who will support George Bush and Dennis Hastert. The Center's ranking of top industries donating to Fitzpatrick's 2004 election listed leadership PACS as the top donor by industry. Leadership PACs also led in 2006.

Mr. Fitzpatrick may try to present himself as a candidate of change, but when he ran for office and served previously, he was clearly an establishment candidate. If Jim Cawley, currently a Bucks County Commissioner and candidate for lt. gov. is elected, a position on the county commission will be open. Mr. Fitzpatrick did well, I am told, as a county commissioner. Perhaps he would be interested in returning to that post.


eRobin said...

Great post.

mr. sunshine said...


Reread Mike's comment.He said district not state.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for resurrecting that old post.

Fitzpatrick has been appointed to the posts he's held. I don't understand why the Republican power bosses think he's a strong candidate. I guess we'll see.

If they decide to anoint Fitzpatrick and force the other candidates to drop out so that he can run unopposed, I think they'll be surprised at the outrage.
The voters aren't going to sleep through this election.

AboveAvgJane said...

eRobin and anon -- thanks.

Mr. Sunshine -- good point, and a valid one. However, it is very difficult to figure out what donations are from in-state but out of district. Especially in the 8th where the Montco and Philly portions of the district are very difficult to pinpoint. Going by zipcodes won't be exact enough.

Robert Beatty said...

Change you can believe in????

Congressman Murphy has tirelessly endeavored to "change" the thoughts and minds of his constituency in an attempt to align them with the Obama/Pelosi agenda. He does not "represent" our views. Instead, "our" congressman continuously tries to convince us of the merits of the new progressive movement to justify the fact that he is simply a rubber stamp for Obama/Emanuel and Pelosi. We should not be surprised, though. Who do you think got him elected?

The top 5 contributors to Murphy’s 2005-06 campaign according to were as follows:
1. “brings real Americans into politics to fight for a more PROGRESSIVE America”
2. ActBlue- “a PAC allowing individuals and groups to channel their PROGRESSIVE dollars to candidates and movements of their choosing”
3. Cozen & O’Connor- Murphy’s former employer who just announced “In response to extraordinary client demand for sophisticated government relations counsel, Cozen O’Connor has announced the formation of Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies LLC to offer enhanced government relations assistance in public policy advocacy, regulatory compliance, and contract procurement at the federal, state and local levels.”
4. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee- Rahm Emanuel was the chairman
5. HopeFund- Obama’s PAC

Carrie James, Murphy’s Communications Director during his 2006 campaign, was on loan from Nancy Pelosi. Murphy, in his book states that Rahm Emanuel orchestrated the move.(

Adam Frankel, co-author of Murphy’s book, “Taking the Hill: From Philly to Baghdad to the United States Congress,” was at the time and still is a senior speech writer for President Obama. (

Scott Fairchild, Murphy’s Chief of Staff, is the former communications director for 21st Century Democrats, which is “an organization with a long term mission to train PROGRESSIVES and build the network of populist Democrats”

Donations continue to pour in from Chicago and most specifically Rahm Emanuel’s former congressional district which includes zip code 60614. (

Well, maybe we shouldn’t be proud; but, I am sure Obama, Emanuel and Pelosi are quite proud.

AboveAvgJane said...

Mr. Beatty,

I think the people of the 8th district think Murphy DOES represent their views or they wouldn't have elected him twice.

As to some of your other points -- According to Murphy's book a number of people with campaign experience were encouraged to go out into the field. Since Carrie James graduated from Gettysburg College she may have chosen a Pennsylvania race to be close to friends or possibly family. At that time Pelosi was not yet the Speaker so it is incorrect to refer to her that way in reference to that time period.

Ditto for Frankel. At that time Obama was a Senator not President. Jon Favreau has been his head speechwriter for the presidential campaign and during the presidency. Frankel was part of the team.

As for campaign finance, Act Blue allows people from all over the country, including the 8th district, to donate to campaigns. Sometimes candidates use it as the direct donation link on their campaign website. I haven't looked at the 2006 reports in a while but I bet a number of those ActBlue donations were from in-state. As for donations from Illinois, there may a cluster of donations from there but, as I recall, it isn't a notable percentage. Since he worked at Cozen it is no surprise that he receives a number of donations from people working there. If the people who don't know you don't support you, you are in trouble.

It will be interesting to see what happens during the general election.