Lincoln Project puts Pa.’s Fitzpatrick on its 2024 wanted list | Tuesday Morning Coffee

He’s one of 18 pols whose voters backed Joe Biden, but sent a Republican to Congress

By: - February 7, 2023 7:17 am

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District (WikiMedia Commons)

During his years on Capitol Hill, U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick has held himself out as a pragmatist dedicated to finding bipartisan solutions in an institution where sharp-elbowed partisanship is the order of the day.

Indeed, Fitzpatrick, R-1st District, has crossed over to vote with Democrats in the past on bills guaranteeing access to contraception and a minimum wage hike 

All the votes were safe bets, given the then-Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, and they were a political inoculation for Fitzpatrick, whose suburban Philadelphia district was becoming ever-more purple.

But when it counted, the former FBI agent was there for former President Donald Trumpvoting against his impeachment after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

In fact, Fitzpatrick voted with the former president 61.8 percent of the time during his four years in the White House, according to FiveThirtyEight.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that the Never Trump Lincoln Project has added Fitzpatrick’s name to a list of 18 must-defeat lawmakers whose districts went for President Joe Biden, but who nonetheless sent Republicans to Congress.

The list spans district across the country, from Arizona to New Jersey, and notably includes controversial U.S. Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y.

“We will show the voters in these districts how support for these representatives empowers an agenda designed to crush working families and weaken our democratic institutions,” the group said in an email. “To persuade these voters, the effort will demonstrate how the traditional GOP of the past no longer exists and there is no going back to a time before Trump.”

Former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on Nov. 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 15: Former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump announced that he was seeking another term in office and officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Whether it will work is another matter entirely. Fitzpatrick cruised to a 10-point victory over Democratic challenger Ashley Ehasz in last November’s mid-term election — a cycle that ended up favorable for Democrats.

In a statement at the time, Fitzpatrick said the win signaled that “our community has spoken with an overwhelming voice in support of unity, collaboration, moderation and bipartisanship.” And he promised to “continue to reflect our community’s independent voice of reason” in the 118th Congress.

“Our community is not far-left or far-right, we are centrist and pragmatic,” Fitzpatrick said, according “I ask all in our community to join us in leading our People’s Movement of bipartisanship and center-forward problem solving, and to fight against the bigotry of hyper-partisanship and extremist ideological purity that is destroying our nation.”

In its statement, the Lincoln Project said it planned to continue to shine a spotlight on the influence the MAGA wing of the GOP continues to exert on the House Republican conference.

“It is important to highlight that the 2022 elections were a near miss for democracy,” the group said in statement. “MAGA, and the anti-democratic forces that make it up, is not yet in decline no matter what the prognosticators say on television.”

Trump, who has mounted a 2024 re-election bid, is “still the driving force in the Party, and anyone wishing to supplant him will need to win over the MAGA forces,” the Lincoln Project continued. “For the rest of 2023 and into 2024, MAGA will continue to engage in political and cultural arson to sow distrust in our democratic institutions and divide our nation.”

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.