If you were waiting for a sign that Mike Fitzpatrick is drawing blood from Democrat Pat Murphy, you’ve got it. Incumbent Murphy’s chief of staff Scott Fairchild, who guided Murphy to a razor-thin election victory in 2006 and has served as his chief of staff since 2007, is heading to Chicago to serve as Rahm Emanuel’s campaign manager.
Murphy is locked in a tight contest with Fitzpatrick for the southeastern 8th district seat. According to the latest Franklin & Marshall poll, released on Sept. 23, Fitzpatrick led 49 percent to Murphy’s 35 percent among likely voters, and an enormous 47 percent of registered adults said it was “time for a change.”
Fairchild, who is already advising Emanuel, is apparently also staying on through Nov. 2 to help Murphy overcome a deficit in the polls in a district that seems poised to return Fitzpatrick to Congress. Emanuel’s mayoral bid will last into 2011, and the election will be held in February.
The announcement comes at an awkward time for Pat Murphy, with fewer than four weeks until Election Day, and could be a sign that Fairchild believes he’s done all he can for an unpopular incumbent.
Mike Barley, communications director for the Pennsylvania GOP, is characterizing the Fairchild announcement as a sign that Murphy’s people are “jumping ship.”
“Patrick Murphy is so embedded within the Democratic establishment of Washington, D.C.,” Barley told Battle ‘10 in a statement, “he’s trading campaign staffers with former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.”