Politics

Campaign Comes to Quiet End in Heated Pennsylvania House District

Fitzpatrick, Wallace shun media, focus on volunteer efforts

Brian Fitzpatrick, Scott Wallace
Brian Fitzpatrick, Scott Wallace

LANSDALE, Pa.—In Pennsylvania's First District, you're better off taking in the fall foliage than trying to take in one of the candidates. In the home stretch of the midterm campaign both candidates are focused on mobilizing volunteers and staying out of the spotlight.

In the last four days before the election, Democratic challenger Scott Wallace had one publicly listed event—a get-out-the-vote effort in Lansdale. At the time the Washington Free Beacon was there, about eight volunteers were on hand. Two Democrats running for the state legislature were also there—but not Wallace. After consulting with a campaign official over the phone, a Wallace volunteer asked the Free Beacon to leave the event but promised a call following up on an interview request.

The call never came.

At the same time, incumbent Republican representative Brian Fitzpatrick didn't have any publicly announced events. In a series of phone calls with the Free Beacon, the Fitzpatrick campaign wouldn't say where the congressman was but did promise a call to schedule an interview.

The call never came.

PA-1 is the only competitive race in southeastern Pennsylvania this cycle. That's a bit of an oddity for the collar counties that surround Philadelphia. For years they had been home to a number of swing districts. That changed this year when the state supreme court decided to rewrite the district boundaries themselves, ending in a map that redrew some of the southeastern competitive districts that Republicans used to their advantage and one that stands to boost Democratic hopes in the midterms.

Now, Real Clear Politics has the first district listed as one of only three toss ups in the Keystone State. It has become one of the most important House races in the country. It has seen unprecedented levels of spending with more than $25 million already spent, according to WHYY.

A wealthy progressive philanthropist, Wallace is the grandson of former FDR vice president Henry Wallace. He was born in Bucks County, Pa., but spent decades away from the area before moving back to challenge Fitzpatrick. Wallace is a partner in the Democracy Alliance, the largest secretive liberal donor network that was cofounded by billionaire George Soros and helps set the Democratic agenda.

Wallace spent years running his family foundation, the Wallace Global Fund, from South Africa while also maintaining an address just outside of Washington, D.C., in Maryland. Online records show that Wallace was in Cape Town, South Africa, playing in tennis tournaments at the Kelvin Grove Club, an elite sports and social club, as recently as last year.

Throughout the campaign, Wallace has used his wealth to fuel his candidacy.

According to Federal Election Commission records, Scott Wallace for Congress reports around $14 million in total receipts—a figure that includes millions in loans Wallace provided to his own campaign, which has only taken in roughly $1.2 million in contributions from individual donors. Nearly 85 percent of Wallace's itemized donations are coming from outside of Pennsylvania while Fitzpatrick—who reports just over $3 million in contributions—is pulling in most of his donations from within the state.

Wallace has come under fire for the donations the Wallace Global Fund has made to a number of radical left-wing groups including those who promote boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns against Israel. Wallace defended the donations by saying another member of his fund disbursed them, but the fund had no more than five officers at the time of the donation, which mainly included Wallace and members of his family.

The two candidates have also sparred over issues such as law enforcement, with Fitzpatrick's campaign criticizing Wallace as being anti-law enforcement, which he has denied. Wallace, however, was captured by a constituent in the district saying that "dogs are smarter than police officers." The audio file was recently sent to the Washington Free Beacon.

Wallace did not register to vote in Bucks County until Dec. 31, 2017. He cast his first vote the day of the Democratic primary this year, according to his voting history records obtained by the Free Beacon.

In some of their final emails to supporters, both campaigns asked that they reach out to other voters and participate in door-knocking efforts. They also succinctly summed up their final message to voters.

In an email titled "Crunch Time," the Fitzpatrick campaign told its supporters "we must re-elect Congressman Fitzpatrick to ensure we keep our community moving in the right direction."

In an email titled "Our Volunteers Are Ready," the Wallace campaign told its supporters "Pennsylvanians deserve a representative who will fight for them, not special interests—and that's the kind of leader Scott will be."

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which has spent more than $3 million in support of Fitzpatrick, warned that Wallace's agenda is too "dangerous" for voters to embrace. "Scott Wallace is the most extreme candidate to ever run in Pennsylvania," Chris Martin, a committee spokesperson, told the Free Beacon. "Voters will head to the polls on Tuesday fully aware of how dangerous his agenda would be in Congress."