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.