Friday, June 04, 2010

An Update on the 8th Congressional District Race

Since the primaries are over things are starting to heat up for the general. Let’s check in on the 8th congressional district and see how the political discourse is going in the rematch between Democrat Patrick Murphy and Republican Mike Fitzpatrick. There’s a lot of shouting and trash talk coming from the Republican side.

A blog entry over at pa2010 caught my notice. Beth Hegedus, who works for Republican Mike Fitzpatrick, posted a video of remarks she made when speaking as Fitzpatrick’s surrogate at a Republican organization dinner:

Now, where do you come in? If you helped us in 2006, we appreciate it. But, guess what, in 2010, it is going to be worse. We are going to be inundated with the d triple c, with Move On. org, with Emily's List, and with George Soros putting out pro-Patrick Murphy fodder that we all know is not true and is not consistent. So we are going to need everyone in this room and it doesn't matter if you’re in the 8th or if you’re not in the 8th. If you are from Montgomery County Mike Fitzpatrick needs your help. We want to send this conservative voice back to Washington DC. This man who believes in earmark reform. This man who believes in limited government. The man who believes in fiscal responsibility. He is our man. He is the man of the people. People want change. Let's send Mike Fitzpatrick to Washington to be the start of the change. Thank you..

Hegedus has a point with the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee), which had donated to Murphy’s campaigns over the years, and also acted as a conduit for other donations.

As for Emily’s List. The organization describes itself as “a community of progressive Americans dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to every level of office.” Murphy, a married father of two, would not seem to qualify.

Looking at, since 2006 Murphy has received a total of $9,000 from people names Soros, but only $2,000 from George Soros, in two equal donations, one in 2006 and another a year later in 2007. Two of the other people with the Soros name work for Sorors fund management. Between then they have donated a total of $3,000 over a three year period.

MoveOn is a bit trickier. Of the money Murphy raised in 2006, something like 4% of it came from or through That’s not a significant percentage, but in straight dollars it looks like a lot. Since then, however, the bloom has gone off the rose and Move On has a few qualms about Murphy’s views on fiscal responsibility. In the 2006 election they also spent about $1300 on his behalf (source: and

I'm not sure that sending a former congressman back to congress is much of a change, though.

BucksRight has posted a video of a meeting that Murphy held with constituents. John Mullane at Phillyburbs describes the scene this way:
Fitzpatrick forced the first rumble Saturday morning in the Middletown municipal building at a "Congressman on Your Corner" event. These low-key, usually sparsely attended meetings allow Murphy to meet privately with constituents.

Fitzpatrick and about 75 people - supporters and tea partiers - arrived early and confronted Murphy. They insisted he change the format to "town hall," a meeting style that proved devastating to Murf's fellow Dems who supported the federal health care overhaul.
On the video a few people started yelling and chanting, saying they wanted a townhall meeting. One of the more vocal people is identified as Robert Sklaroff, a Republican committeeperson from Abington Township, Montgomery County. I’ve never quite understood the boundaries of Murphy’s district in Montco – the 8th district has a skin tag shaped blob that doesn’t conform to township boundaries, and includes a small part of Abington. The Abington Twp Republican organization doesn’t’ provide geographic areas for its committee people so it impossible to say whether Skarloff is in the 8th, but given the percentages it is unlikely. A commenter on Bucks Right says Sklaroff doesn’t live in the 8th. On his website Sklaroff says he worked with Marina Kats 2008 congressional campaign in the 13th district. You know, if I were one of those people quietly waiting for an opportunity to speak to my congressional representative I would really resent people from outside the district coming in and disrupting the proceedings, and for someone to turn a constituent event into political theater. According to Mullane Murphy stayed for three hours answering constituent questions.

Given the fuss over townhall meetings, another video on Ms. Hegedus’s blog at pa2010 clearly shows one of Murphy’s frequent constituent events out in the community. People can just drop by and talk with him. Someone says they have a question and then proceeds to read a long statement on health care, which Murphy does his best to address. Doesn’t that imply that he is meeting people and discussing health care? (see previous blog post on Murphy and health care townhalls) What I find more disturbing is the threatening wording on the video. It says Murphy “will pay big time.” Disagree with his policies if you like, and people in the 8th can vote him out of office, but saying he “will pay big time”? That sounds like a personal threat and that has no place in politics. The video comes with a note that it was made by someone in the 8th but not a party or candidate. Hopefully parties and candidates will disavow any personal threats to any candidate.

Political rhetoric can get heated and it is the responsibility of the candidates to encourage their supporters to behave in a civil manner or to disassociate themselves with any behavior that cross the line and becomes threatening or disruptive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm proud to report that Congressman Murphy continues to represent Abington Wards 5 (Division 2), 8 (Division 1) and 15 (Division 2) with honor and distinction.
Michael Barbiero
Abington-Rockledge Democratic Committee