Report: Pa.’s Perry, Fitzpatrick among Congress’ most-endangered incumbents | Friday Morning Coffee

September 27, 2019 7:13 am

House Homeland Security Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Scott Perry makes opening remarks during a hearing on “critical canine contributions to the DHS mission’” in Washington, D.C., May 18, 2017. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Photo by Glenn Fawcett

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

We know, we know. We’re supposed to hate the horse race aspect of our politics. We’re supposed to loathe the Who’s Up, Who’s Down nature of our elections. We’re supposed to be talking about the issues, the life and death stuff that makes up the lifeblood of our Republic.

But if we can tear you away from checking out your Fantasy Football team for this Sunday for just 10 seconds, we have a bit of news to share …

Confirming what most political prognosticators already knew, but reaffirming it in no uncertain terms, GOP U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, of Bucks County’s 1st District, and Scott Perry, of central Pennsylvania’s 10th Districtare officially on the endangered species list for 2020. Or at least one compiled by the National Journal, and that’s as close to official as it gets in D.C. circles.

The NJ’s Ally Mutnick and Kyle Trygstad note that it’s too soon whether this week’s bombshell impeachment announcement will substantially affect the state of play for 2020, or whether House Democrats could see their current majority endangered as a result.

Still, they write, “Republicans expect to gain seats and see a path to reclaiming the House thanks in large part to the president’s presence on the ballot. Democrats feel bolstered by massive small-dollar fundraising and, while defending their 2018 gains, are intent to pick off seats they left on the table and stretch GOP resources thin in the process.”

U.S. Rep Brian Fitzpatrick. (AFGE/Flickr)

First up, Fitzpatrick:

The suburban Philly lawmaker “is one of two Republicans seeking reelection in a district carried by Hillary Clinton, and Democrats expect to have a stronger candidate this time than Scott Wallace, the multi-millionaire philanthropist who was battered with negative ads, and lost by over 2 points despite a national wave that crashed through the suburbs,” they write.

Then, asking a question many in the ‘Burbs may be asking right now, if not Wallace, then who?

None of the three Democrats who have stepped forward in this Bucks County-based seat so far appear to be top recruits, and it may take that to unseat an incumbent who has proved capable of separating himself from Trump,” they observe.

And now Perry:

The 10th District incumbent is facing a primary from his right from newcomer Bobby Jeffries, of Hershey, who says Perry, a Freedom Caucus stalwart, is not sufficiently Trump-y enough for voters in a district that is far more purple than it used to be.

Perry, a conservative hard-liner, was redistricted last year out of a safe district and into competitive territory where he is new to about 40 percent of voters,” they write. “He came within 3 points of losing it in 2018 and now has a top-tier challenger in Eugene DePasquale, the state auditor general who represented part of the district in the state legislature. The Club for Growth could come in for Perry, but DePasquale makes this a race to watch. He won the district with nearly 51 percent of the vote when he ran statewide in 2016. Trump would have won this new seat by 9 points.”

DePasquale, too, has a primary challenge in another Hershey-ite, Tom Brier, who has a surprising amount of organization and fundraising capability for a newcomer to politics.

So, while the NJ’s focus is understandably on the general election topography, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that it could end up being a pretty raucous nominating season, assuming that these two newcomers survive that long.

WikiMedia Commons

Our Stuff:
Stephen Caruso 
runs down the current state of play on ”Energize PA’ the signature proposal for House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, this fall. It’s run into opposition from moderate Republicans in vulnerable districts, among other issues.

U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-5th Districtoffered some tips for staying civil in these partisan times. New Capital-Star Washington Correspondent Daniel C. Vock has the details.

We have two stories on deck this morning from our partners at The Philadelphia Tribune. In the first, officials at the Philly NAACP say they want Gov. Tom Wolf to address an ‘epidemic of unfair firings’ at SEPTA.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia City Council voted to expand lead-safety testing for rental unitsMayor Jim Kenney says he will sign the measure.

If the Ukraine scandal has revealed nothing else, it’s that President Donald Trump is in it entirely for himself, your newsletter author opines.

On our Commentary Page, opinion regular Lloyd E. Sheaffer says that, as tempting as it may be, tuning out the news right now comes with too high a price. And your voting habits may depend on when you register to vote, a pair of Florida scholars conclude.

State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell speaks at a rally during Gun Violence Awareness Day on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek)

Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s
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A lawyer for Exxon workers charged with beating two Black women says his clients aren’t racist, the Post-Gazette reports.
PennLive has the latest in the seemingly endless saga over who’s responsible for cleaning up the mess left behind by a wall collapse in Harrisburg in 2016.
The Morning Call explains how Pennsylvania’s fireworks law may be changed — but not repealed.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

Temple University researchers will study the link between PFAS chemicals and cancer, WHYY-FM reports.
A new study is recommending better marketing and new regulations for Pa. dairy farmers, the PA Post reports.
PoliticsPA has a look at the four Democrats who are gearing up for a run for state Auditor General.
Immigration to the United States slowed last year, and blue states are feeling the reports.
Talking Points Memo has some key takeaways from the Ukraine/Whistleblower complaint.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
State Rep. Rob Matzie holds a 9 a.m. golf outing at the Club at Shadow Lakes in scenic Aliquippa, Pa. Admission runs $50 to $3,000.

Gov. Tom Wolf
 heads to western Pennsylvania for a 10 a.m. stop at Riverview Jr/Sr High School in Oakmont, Allegheny County, to talk up the PASmart STEM education program.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Belated best wishes go out this morning to Sarah Eicher, of Pa. Senate Democrats. And best wishes go out this morning to Kadida Kenner, of the Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center; former state Rep. Rick Taylor, of Montgomery County, and Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Vinnie Vella, all of whom celebrate today. Congratulations all around, and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a longstanding favorite from Dinosaur Jr. It’s ‘Feel the Pain.’

Friday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.
As is its custom, The Guardian has 10 things to look for during this weekend’s round of Premier League play.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.