Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Petri of Bucks County, just weeks ago the front runner for the Republican nomination in the 8th Congressional District, has dropped out of the race.
“We had the money in the bank, we were ready to go,” Petri said in an interview. He had dozens of endorsements from county elected officials.
Brian Fitzpatrick, the younger brother of incumbent Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, has moved to the area from California, and he’s running to take to his brother’s seat.
Several sources said U.S. Rep. Fitzpatrick, who is not seeking re-election, was making calls to GOP leaders on his brother’s behalf and getting a positive reaction from party regulars.
So Petri decided to let it go.
“It was a tough decision,” Petri said, “but in the end it seemed a successful primary would involve a great deal of conflict among members of the party that would have severely diminished the chance of the Republican candidate to succeed in the fall.”
Petri told me he’d last spoken to Congressman Fitzpatrick in November, and that he said it was possible, though not certain, that his brother might enter the race.
Petri said he wants to see what the candidates have to say about his key issues, such as balancing the federal budget and reforming the government regulatory process, before he decides who he might support.
“Nobody has my vote yet,” Petri said.
Also in the GOP race are former county commissioner Andrew Warren, attorney Dean Malik, and neuropsychologist Marc Duome.
State Rep. Steve Santarsiero and businesswoman Shaughnessy Naughton are seeking the Democratic nomination.