The Bucks County Republican Committee has denounced incumbent Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s primary challenger after a series of controversial comments and alleged wrongdoing came to light.
Earlier this week, the Bucks County Republican Executive Committee announced it would exclude First District Congressional candidate Andrew Meehan from screening before the committee. The exclusion means Meehan will be ineligible for official endorsement by the county GOP committee as a whole.
“Following the discovery of discriminatory statements made on social media and a record of deception unbecoming of a candidate for federal office, the Executive Committee has found Andrew Meehan’s congressional candidacy inconsistent with our shared values of individual liberty and personal freedom,” party chair Pat Poprik said in a statement. “As a result, the Executive Committee has voted to not include Mr. Meehan in the candidates screening before the locally elected committee people to seek their recommendation.”
Elizabeth Preate Havey, committee chair of the Montgomery County Republican Committee, joined in Poprik’s sentiment.
The executive committee is made up of more than 100 Republicans from across the county. Each executive member is elected by local Republicans. The First Congressional District represents a small piece of Montgomery County, as well.
On the Bucks County Republican Committee’s Facebook page, account administrators responded to constituents with the accusation that Meehan recorded certain conversations without Poprik’s, or anyone else on the committee’s, knowledge. The account also references Meehan lying while interviewing with the committee.
“Believe me this was not about Brian Fitzpatrick or Donald Trump at all. Mr. Meehan has racist, nasty remarks on social media, he lied to us during the candidates interview about his DUI, tax liens and lawsuits and finally and probably most egregious is he was taping us during his interview without our knowledge, which is a criminal offense,” Poprik said in a Facebook comment on the post.
On the same day, Meehan’s campaign released a statement addressing some of the posts and instances Poprick might have been referencing, although Poprick did not explicitly point to any specific post. The statement from Meehan’s campaign takes on criticism, controversial comments and is partly in response to attack ads that have already been run from the Fitzpatrick campaign.
In the statement, which can be found on Meehan’s website, the candidate pulls up two particularly inflammatory Facebook comments and attempts to explain the context. In one post on a Vice News story on the Charlottesville protest and attack, Meehan writes “I’m one of your ‘nazis’ come punch me snowflake!” In the statement, Meehan argues he was writing “in response to the left’s ascribing that label to everyone they disagree with, from President Trump to his millions of supporters, and using that as a justification to ‘punch a ‘Nazi.’”
Another screenshot that had made its way around Republican and Democratic political circles has been a comment from a 2017 post where Meehan’s account stated: “Translation: Hooray for the divisive environment brought on by the identity race vulture politics of the LEFT! Hooray for the african americans that opt to stay on the government plantation where they belong! Inmates hate seeing others set free.” Meehan responded that the comment was “not my opinion but an honest paraphrasing of the left’s attitude towards African Americans in our country.”
On his website, Meehan admitted to decade-old tax liens, which this news organization confirmed through public records, and blamed them on an issue made by his tax preparer. He also included documents that his campaign said show the issue was quickly resolved.
The candidate, a financial advisor from Northampton, tackles a screenshot floating around that shows a man wearing a T-shirt of Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara with the text “socialism is for f*gs.”
“Among hundreds of photos of people in the many post-event galleries that have been featured on my website, one person is wearing a T-shirt with a slur that is barely perceivable. The photo this gallery came from was from an event hosted by radio host Rich Zeoli and not my own event. This individual in the photo has no connection to my campaign, I don’t know who he is, and the appearance of the photo on our website was incidental as part of a larger gallery. I don’t condone that kind of language and it’s not on our current website,” Meehan said.
Meehan also tackles an image he posted recently with Owen Shroyer, a host from conspiracy theory and dietary supplement website InfoWars. He denies that he believes the September 11, 2001 attacks were an inside job, as InfoWars has stated in the past along with a debunked claim the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was staged. Meehan said he is grateful for the First Amendment and Owen defending it, adding “context and nuance are absent from these accusations.”
Meehan appeared to be taking the denouncement from the county party in strides. He posted on Facebook, mocking the “failing” county party for their recent loses and noted Fitzpatrick said he did not vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
“I must be doing something right!” Meehan’s campaign wrote.
Editor’s Note: Publisher/Editor Tom Sofield’s father, Chris, is Meehan’s campaign manager.