In the end, Mike Fitzpatrick did not have to worry about the lack of coattails Tuesday night, as the Bucks County Republican held off Democratic challenger Kathy Boockvar to hold on to the 8th District Congressional seat.
Early returns suggested the race might be close, and Barack Obama’s easy win in Pennsylvania gave Boockvar a whiff of hope.
But Fitzpatrick ended up winning handily, with nearly 57 percent of the vote, with 91 percent of precincts reporting.
“I’ve been incredibly blessed to have had the significant support and the confidence of Bucks County,” Fitzpatrick told supporters in claiming victory. “But also recognizing I’m being sent down to the nation’s Capitol at a very difficult time in our nation’s history.”
Boockvar got some support from high-profile Democrats, including Bill Clinton, but Fitzpatrick had six times more cash on hand as of mid-October. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee essentially conceded the seat in October, when it pulled TV ad money from the Philadelphia market.
“I am so excited,” Boockvar said. “We’ve seen a great victory across the nation. We’ve seen Senator Casey reelected. We’ve seen the first woman attorney general. We have Senator Elizabeth Warren coming to Massachusetts…I’m sorry to say that it looks like I will not be joining the House of Representatives – the numbers are not final, but I just want to say thank you, thank you so much.”
On election night, the two camps gathered supporters just a block part in historic Doylestown. The 60 or so Fitzpatrick supporters emitted an unhappy gasp when Fox News called Pennsylvania for Obama, but by the end of the night they were wearing victory smiles.
The southeast Pennsylvania district, which includes Bucks and part of Montgomery County, has historically been a swing district. Fitzpatrick lost his seat to Patrick Murphy in 2006.