According to the PAWaterCooler, Mike Fitzpatrick, former 8th district congressman and candidate for that office again this year, said Patrick Murphy, current 8th district congressman, skipped a public event in the district on healthcare:
As recently as last Friday, hundreds of District 8 residents gathered and voiced opposition to this debacle. Though Patrick Murphy was invited he apparently decided that a fundraiser was more important than listening to the concerns of his own constituents.
As it happens I was at Murphy's fundraiser Friday night. It is a low cost event, to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and has become an annual event, scheduled far in advance. I attended last year as well. Like Josh Shapiro's quizzo games and birthday parties, Allyson Schwartz's summer picnics and January post-election parties, Delaware County debates and picnics, and an assortment of other low cost and free events, it is a good opportunity for the public (including anonymous bloggers) to get together, meet candidates, and have a good time.
Given that the debate on the health care bill was slated to start early in the weekend with a vote hoped for on Sunday I wondered if Murphy would be able to attend himself, or if he would be in Washington for debates and strategy sessions. The St. Patrick's Day celebration was scheduled to last from 7 to 10 p.m. I got there a little after 8 and left around 9. Murphy had not yet arrived when I left but was expected shortly.
So it is incorrect for Fitzpatrick to say that Murphy skipped Fitzpatrick's event to go to a fundraiser. He was stuck in Washington and would not have gotten back in time. Plus, given the recommended donation ($50), it could hardly be considered a high roller event. It was more along the lines of a beef and beer (though fish was on the menu).
If you are wondering why I went to a political event and left before the candidate arrived, well, no offense to Murphy, but at this kind of event, unless he is making a policy speech, which candidates seldom do, he's not really the main attraction. Murphy's events just bring in nice people. This past Friday, his wife, a talented lawyer, was taking plates and cleaning off tables. A group of pre-school girls ran around and did their version of Irish dancing. People table hopped and chatted. It was a friendly, low-key crowd. At previous Murphy events I've sat with people who gave me good advice on cars and engaged in other casual conversation. There is very little political talk.
In any case, Congressman Murphy was not in a smoke-filled room being schmoozed by lobbyists Friday night. He was in DC and then in route to a room full of constituents and guests at the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.