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Is The Freedom Caucus Really Trying To Defeat Mainstream Pennsylvania Republican Brian Fitzpatrick?

Kevin McCarthy Has No Comment

Brian Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent, took over as congressman for Bucks County when his brother, Mike Fitzpatrick, decided to retire in 2016, upholding a term limits pledge he had made. The redrawn district, includes more of blue-leaning Montgomery County and is slightly more Democratic that the district used to be. Before the new lines were put in last year, the district had an R+2 PVI. Now it is exactly even. Anti-Choice but also anti-gun, pro-LGBTQ and pro-Climate action, Fitzpatrick is not beloved for the congressional MAGAts. He voted against repealing ObamaCare and he voted with 10 other Republicans and every Democrat to strip Marjorie Traitor Green of all her committee assignments. He also announced in 2016 that he couldn’t bring himself to vote for Trump although he voted against impeaching Trump both times. He offered a censure resolution against Trump for his role in the J-6 insurrection. He was one of only 9 Republicans to vote to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. He was also one of the 35 Republicans who voted with the Democrats to establish the J-6 commission.

70% of voters just cast their ballots for the party they identify with. Fitzpatrick is one of the rare members of Congress who has his own brand distinct from his party, which is pretty toxic in his district. In 2016 Trump took 47.6% of the district’s vote on the same day that Fitzpatrick took 54.4% and in 2020 the disparity was even greater— Trump 46.6% and Fitzpatrick 56.6%.

MAGAts thought they could defeat him in the 2020 primary and a right-winger Andrew Meehan ran. It wasn’t close though:

  • Fitzpatrick- 48,017 (63.3%)

  • Meehan (36.7%)

The far right end of the Pennsylvania GOP is up for trying again. This time, according to a report from Mica Soellner for PunchBowl News. It isn’t just that MAGAt Mark Houck, an anti-woke, anti-Choice minister, is running, it’s that Houck says he was talked into running by Scott Perry (R-PA), head of the Freedom Caucus. Soellner called it a “stunning” development.

Mainstream conservative Brian Fitzpatrick & neo-fascist Scott Perry

A sitting Pennsylvania House Republican urging someone to challenge another Pennsylvania House Republican is unheard of. And Fitzpatrick represents a purple district. If he were to lose in a GOP primary, Democrats could easily win the seat.
Houck said he fostered a relationship with Perry after the HFC chair brought him as a guest to this year’s State of the Union address. They had a conversation in June where Perry told Houck he needed to make a decision on any run before the end of July, according to Houck.
To be clear, the more likely scenario here is that Perry is far more likely to come off looking bad. Fitzpatrick has easily dispatched his last three primary challenges by well over 60% of the vote.
Perry’s campaign downplayed the GOP lawmaker’s involvement in recruiting Houck to challenge Fitzpatrick.
“While Congressman Perry greatly respects Mr. Houck’s tireless dedication to fighting for the unborn, he only encouraged Mr. Houck to pray about a decision to run for Congress,” Matt Beynon, a spokesperson for Perry’s campaign, told us.
Fitzpatrick declined to comment.
Houck made headlines last year after the FBI raided his home over an allegedly violent encounter he had with a Planned Parenthood escort outside of an abortion clinic.
Houck was arrested and charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances— or FACE— Act. He was acquitted by a Pennsylvania jury earlier this year.
Houck is running as an “America-First” and HFC-aligned candidate who is using his arrest by the FBI to bolster the House GOP’s accusations that the Justice Department is “weaponized” against conservatives. We should note that Fitzpatrick is a former FBI agent.
Houck also accused Fitzpatrick of using bipartisanship as a cover for wanting to vote with Democrats.
“We just think we can do better for the First District,” Houck said. “When it comes to traditional American values, as well as Republican values, Brian does not reflect them.”
Biden won Fitzpatrick’s district by nearly five points in 2020. Hillary Clinton beat former President Donald Trump here in 2016 by less than a point.
Fitzpatrick co-chairs the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which welcomes the most moderate members from both parties. Perry, who is also in a purple district, served in the group for his first two terms in Congress before quitting in 2017.

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