Bucks County, Pa. – Mike Fitzpatrick’s challenge to Democrat Patrick Murphy in the 8th congressional district is perhaps the most watched race in Pennsylvania and among national leaders.
The NRCC views the Fitzpatrick race as one of the key bellwethers that will indicate how large the expected GOP wave will be on Election Day. And Murphy, a rising star in his party, is seeking frantically to hold on to a seat that looks like it’s slipping away. The latest internal polling has Fitzpatrick leading by ten.
With only a week to go before Nov. 2, though, Fitzpatrick remains focused on what he knows could be another nail-biter. He lost to Murphy in 2006 by less than two percent of the vote.
“I think a lot of people understand that we’re working very hard, we have a great message, and people are responding in large numbers,” Fitzpatrick told Battle ‘10. “People are ready for a change, they’re hungry for leaders like Gov. Christie, who are willing to tell the truth, [and] not just tell people what they want to hear, but tell them what they need to hear.”
Christie endorsed Fitzpatrick at a rally in Fairless Hills, just minutes from the Garden State, last week.
“I think the people are starving for leadership like that,” said Fitzpatrick.
“The fortunes of the state of New Jersey and the state of Pennsylvania and this congressional district are separated only by the Delaware River,” Fitzpatrick explained to Battle ‘10. “We want the same things. We want a smaller government that spends less and taxes less. That encourages organizations that employ in the private sector to hire more people, to buy more equipment, and ultimately to pay more payroll taxes through a healthy economy, through a pro-growth economic philosophy.”
“In tough economic times when you’re out looking for heroes,” mused Fitzpatrick, “you don’t need to look on the football field, you don’t need to be looking on the silver screen. I think you can find them in places like the state capital in New Jersey, because Gov. Christie is heroic in some of the things he’s doing in public service.”
Fitzpatrick brushed aside the notion that union support for his Democrat rival could spoil his chance at a comeback.
“I think it’s good that they’re encouraging their voters, and I would hope they would encourage all voters,” Fitzpatrick told Battle ‘10. “But at the end of the day, I think that there are many union members [and] union households in Bucks County who are hurting and they’re hurting because of bad economic policies the present congressman, incumbent Patrick Murphy, has adopted, has supported, and has frankly back home now afraid to defend.”
“He doesn’t like to talk about his policies,” said Fitzpatrick of Murphy. “He’s using a lot of AFL-CIO money to beat up my record as a county commissioner 15 years ago, so on the one hand I think it’s great that everyone’s participating and I encourage everybody to vote. On the other hand, it’s disappointing that money from these third party organizations is being used to attack my record, to distort my record, and ultimately to use money from outside the district to influence what should happen right here in the eight district.”
Fitzpatrick, one-time congressman and cancer survivor, is humble but workmanlike about the choice voters will make in the county and the campaign he leads here in southeastern Pennsylvania.
“We’re focused on what we need to do to get to 51 percent,” says a straightforward Fitzpatrick.