Incumbent Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick formally announced his 2018 campaign Friday.
The announcement was kicked off with a video posted to social media and YouTube. The video for the Republican who has stressed bipartisan cooperation in Washington D.C. is titled “One Community. Now More Than Ever.” The formal announcement follows the campaign visiting municipal Republican groups and kicking off an online advertising campaign that began last month.
Fitzpatrick, a former FBI special agent, was first elected in 2016 and is the brother of former Republican Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick. The incumbent Fitzpatrick was born and raised in Levittown and currently resides in Middletown.
“I’m not afraid to take on Washington to make a difference for our families back here because everybody needs a voice,” Fitzpatrick says directly into the camera.
Fitzpatrick talks in the video about adding term limits, abolishing congressional pensions, banning former members of congress from lobbying, and passing a federal budget. He also focuses on veterans and first responders along with fighting cyberstalkers and the opioid epidemic.
Fitzpatrick did not focus his announcement video on very partisan issues and kept to issues that play well in the moderate First Congressional District, which is what the current Eighth Congressional District will become early next year.
An announcement press release cites endorsements from former Gov. Mark Schweiker, former Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, Fitzpatrick’s brother, and a litany of Bucks County and Montgomery elected officials.
“Brian is busy taking on Washington and making a real difference for our community. When it comes to the opioid epidemic ravaging our community, Brian has made our fight, his fight: securing more resources for law enforcement and supporting those in recovery. Time and time again, Brian Fitzpatrick delivers for our community,” Bucks County Commissioner Rob Loughery said in a statement.
On he Democratic side, Steve Bacher, Rachel Reddick, and Scott Wallace are facing off in their primary election. Wallace entered the race last and has been endorsed by the county Democratic committee.
Although the primary race is between the Democrats, Wallace has focused on hitting Fitzpatrick for supporting Republican polities, especially ones supported by President Donald Trump.
Democrats in Bucks County are eying 2018 as the year they can win back the congressional seat after coming off a strong year that saw them claiming several county row offices. Democratic political insiders have said they believe the controversial Republican president who has low poll numbers will help swing the November general election in their favor.
Fitzpatrick has faced some criticism from members of his own party for differing from Trump on major issues like healthcare. Democrats have hit the freshman legislator for his support of the Republican tax reform plan that was backed by the party and president.
Fitzpatrick did not vote for Trump in 2016 election and instead wrote in Vice President Mike Pence’s name after a tape of Trump making lewd comments about women. He has previously voiced a middle-of-the-road viewpoint on the president and supported many policies supported by Trump.
Analysis site FiveThirtyEight ranks Fitzpatrick’s congressional voting record as 83.6 percent in line with Trump’s support.
In 2016, Fitzpatrick ran against Democrat Steve Santarsiero. Fitzpatrick won the district with 54.4 percent of the vote.
Correction: A previous version of this story said Fitzpatrick was aiming to abolish term limits. In fact, he is looking to abolish congressional pensions and put term limits in place.
Editor’s Note: Publisher/Editor Tom Sofield’s father, Chris, is the campaign manager for Republican Dean Malik’s 2018 bid for congress.