Ashley Ehasz is trying to win the Bucks County election against Brian Fitzpatrick over abortion rights

As several dozen people gathered in a park in Perkasie on Monday, Jane Cramer recalled the “punch in the gut” from two years ago, when the United States Supreme Court deprived us of our constitutional right to miscarriage.

“I hope this really motivates people because this is a very personal and fundamental issue,” said Cramer, a Pennridge Democratic committeeman who organized the rally for Bucks County voters to hear from Democratic candidates supporting abortion rights.

The final speaker at the rally was Ashley Ehasz, a Democrat seeking to unseat the four-term U.S. Republican incumbent. Brian Fitzpatrick from his Bucks County headquarters. She spoke against a background of banners declaring that the incumbent president opposes abortion rights.

Ehasz, an Army veteran who lost to Fitzpatrick in 2022, is putting abortion first in her rematch with the Republican. But it could be a tough battle in a purple district that voted for Fitzpatrick while supporting Democrats in the presidential race and other offices, even as Democrats swept the 2022 ballot, riding a wave of abortion-rights activism. But the party’s ability to continue winning on abortion will be tested in this year’s congressional and presidential elections.

Last cycle, Ehasz also made abortion a key issue and lost to Fitzpatrick by nearly 10 points.

Ehasz and her allies believe this year is different. They say abortion has become a more apparent issue in the past two years. And they expect more funding to amplify the message.

Fitzpatrick is highly popular in the First District and is the only Republican representing the Philadelphia region in Congress, after other districts flipped in recent years. He has successfully cultivated an image as a moderate on abortion and other issues.

In a statement, Fitzpatrick’s campaign dismissed the Democratic message as false and pointed to votes he cast in support of reproductive rights.

“Ashley Ehasz’s repeated lies and intimidation will lead her to the exact same place her failed 2022 campaign led her to: a crushing electoral defeat,” the statement said.

Focus on abortion

Ehasz said that as she travels around the district, abortion is often the issue voters cite as their top concern. Abortion is legal in Pennsylvania up to 23 weeks of pregnancy, but Ehasz said voters are watching other states implement restrictive policies and are afraid.

Her campaign is based on the same message she used in 2022: framing Fitzpatrick is more opposed to abortion than voters realize, pointing to votes in which he supported banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy rather than legislation to regulate it Roe v. Wadeand, recentlyfor defence budgets which prevented the military from paying for them women serving in the military to travel to obtain abortions.

According to an internal poll conducted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Ehasz leads against Fitzpatrick when voters learn that Fitzpatrick opposes abortion. The memo said Fitzpatrick is performing better among women and college-educated voters, but abortion coverage is changing that vigorous.

However, no other problem messages were tested that Fitzpatrick could act on.

Olivia Cappello, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood PAC, said she expected the organization to invest significant resources in Pennsylvania, including against Fitzpatrick.

“Our overarching message in Pennsylvania really remains the same in all races,” Cappello said. “The bottom line is that Pennsylvanians need leaders who will defend their rights and decide what is best for their bodies.”

Challenges facing Ehasz

Steve Medvic, director of the Center for Policy and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College, said Ehasz faces a steep climb.

Medvic said there is no evidence in polls that abortion is a more essential issue than it will be in 2022, although voters’ attitudes toward the issue have become less emotional and more tied to changes in reproductive health care at the state level.

Fitzpatrick, he said, had succeeded in distancing himself from the national narrative. Ehasz will have to challenge the incumbent president’s bipartisan, moderate reputation.

“It’s quite a tough task,” Medvic said. “You have to convince people that what they have known for several years is simply not true.”

Jeffrey Gilmore, chairman of the New Britain Republican Party and Fitzpatrick’s brother-in-law, said the congressman has earned respect across the district that he will not easily lose.

“He’s a people person. He goes out into the community quite a bit,” Gilmore said. “He’s not afraid to go anywhere and talk to people.”

The biggest change between the 2022 cycle and the rematch appears to be funding. As of April, Ehasz has already raised more than $1.3 million, compared with $970,543 for the entire 2022 campaign.

Democrats expect that number to raise after the DCCC ranked the district on the list of key races to be held in 2024.

“For those who don’t have information, this time we will have the resources to make sure they are heard,” she said.

Fitzpatrick’s Position on Abortion

Fitzpatrick has remained relatively silent on the abortion issue. In a statement released after the repeal Roe v. Wadestressed the need for a “bipartite consensus that respects both the privacy and autonomy of women and the sanctity of human life.”

In a statement this week, Fitzpatrick’s campaign said he supports Pennsylvania’s current abortion law. The campaign also cited Fitzpatrick’s votes to protect access to contraception and in vitro fertilization, as well as his vote for a bill that would protect the right to cross state lines to obtain an abortion. The campaign did not respond to questions about his votes against the legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade to federal law.

Some of Fitzpatrick’s votes angered anti-abortion groups, and his voting record received a “C” grade from Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America; only two other Republicans received grades below a “B.”

“Brian is not going to make abortion an issue in his campaign,” Gilmore said. “He’ll just tell you it’s a state problem, not a federal problem.”

However, Republicans in Bucks County have expressed some concerns about their vulnerability on the issue.

At a rally for Senate candidate Dave McCormick earlier this month, Bucks County voter Ted Harrison spoke with: call on Republican Party candidates to stop talking about this issue.

“I’m sure there’s a small percentage of cases where that’s the main problem,” he said. and this could have an impact on the election.”

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Latest Posts