For Democrat Ashley Ehasz, 2024 will be her second time running for the First Congressional District.
This year, taking the skills the U.S. Army veteran-turned-candidate learned from her 2022 defeat against Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, she’s aiming to win over voters in greater numbers and clinch the seat.
The Democrat launched her campaign last April in a bid to have more time to fundraise, gain endorsements, and get in front of voters. She has remained active in Democratic events since her 2022 loss.
Ehasz presently is running unopposed in the Democratic April primary, which has allowed her to focus on Fitzpatrick.
This week, Ehasz’s campaign announced a final quarter of 2023 fundraising haul of $248,768, her largest fundraising quarter yet.
Ehasz said 86 percent of donations for the quarter were $100 or less.
Fitzpatrick, who is being primaried by Upper Bucks County anti-abortion activist Mark Houck, is a skilled fundraiser in a district known for competitive races that routinely cost millions and millions of dollars.
Ehasz said she knows that fundraising will be key for her campaign.
The candidate said her latest fundraising totals showed “strong momentum” for her campaign. She highlighted the small-dollar donations and noted that money might be all a supporter can give but they want to show backing for her campaign.
Fitzpatrick and Houck’s campaigns did not respond to a request for fourth quarter fundraising numbers. Those numbers will become public in the coming weeks through federal election records.
As of September 30, 2023, the last date for which public records show the three candidates’ financials, Fitzpatrick’s campaign reported having $3.3 million cash on hand, Ehasz had $230,701.12, and Houck had $9,113.50.
Speaking of the local political landscape in 2024, Ehasz said voters are pro-democracy, want to protect the right to abortion, and want to keep “extremism out of their schools.” She has previously noted the economy and health care are major issues in the district.
“They’re looking at the GOP majority in the House and I think they’re terrified. They are seeing the majority that is rudderless and can’t get anything done,” she said of the gridlock in Washington D.C.
Looking at Democratic successes in Bucks County and beyond in recent elections, Ehasz said the results shows that voters aren’t supportive of the Republican agenda.
In the First Congressional District, Ehasz will have to make that case to voters as she goes against Fitzpatrick, who has handily won every election since 2016 and has strong name recognition.
“They want a representative that represents their values and Brian Fitzpatrick is so far out of touch with what Pennsylvania’s First wants and needs. I think will be held to account this year,” she said.
Ehasz said the 2022 election taught her important lessons that she has used to build her current campaign. The campaign recently hired a new campaign manager to start the new year.
“One thing I really learned is focus on your race and focus on talking to voters,” she said. “So when I look at the next couple of months, and honestly through November, we’re just going to focus on making sure we build a campaign to talk to voters.”
Congressional elections don’t happen in a vacuum, and the 2024 presidential election will loom large over downballot races.