Montgomery County physician Valerie Arkoosh has jumped into the race for the congressional seat being vacated by Allyson Schwartz, and in a big way.
Arkoosh has announced she’s raised $218,000 in less than four weeks for the effort.
She said that as a newcomer to the game, she had to make a statement that would get the attention of political professionals.
“I don’t think they take you seriously until you prove that you’ve got what it takes to put up a good fundraising number and do the hard work,” Arkoosh told me in a phone interview.
Arkoosh joins the scrum of candidates for the 13th District, which includes parts of Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County.
Though the Democratic primary is still a year away, state Sen. Daylin Leach and former Philadelphia City Controller Jonathan Saidel are already making plans to run. State Rep. Brendan Boyle of Northeast Philadelphia and others are maybes.
Arkoosh is a practicing physician who says she got a public health degree when she realized her patients needed good public policy as much as a good doctor. She became a visible advocate of Obamacare as President of the National Physicians Alliance.
Arkoosh, 52, is married to Springfield Township Commissioner Jeff Harbison. She said she expects a tough campaign, but said she’s in it to the finish.
“I’m in this until the voters of the 13th Congressional District tell me that I’m not the one that they choose,” she said.