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Magill Says Calling For Jewish Genocide Is Allowed at UPenn ‘In Context,’ Then Issues Correction

Embattled University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill is under fire yet again for her problematic response to antisemitic speech on campus, telling a congressional hearing that calling for Jewish genocide is allowed depending on its “context.”

Then, after 24 hours of backlash, Magill released a video refuting her previous statement.

Magill made her controversial statement before the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee Tuesday when she was questioned about the surge in antisemitic speech and actions on the UPenn campus. Committee members from both parties grilled Magill and her fellow academic leaders, Harvard President Claudine Gay, and MIT President Sally Kornbluth.

“Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn’s rules or code of conduct? Yes or no?” asked Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.)

Rather than give a yes-or-no answer, Magill said that “if the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment,” later adding that if the calls for genocide were “directed and severe or pervasive,” they could violate Penn’s rules against harassment.

“So, the answer is yes?” Stefanik asked.

“It is a context-dependent decision, congresswoman,” Magill replied.

Stefanik wasn’t satisfied with that.

“Calling for the genocide of Jews — depending upon the context — is not bullying or harassment? This is the easiest question to answer: ‘yes,’ Ms. Magill.”

Magill declined to give that answer, and the other two university presidents echoed Magill’s views.

The answer sparked outrage from both sides of the political aisle.

“It should not be hard to condemn genocide, genocide against Jews, genocide against anyone else,” Gov. Josh Shapiro said Wednesday, calling Magill’s answer “unacceptable.”

“Leaders have a responsibility to speak and act with moral clarity, and Liz Magill failed to meet that simple test,” Shapiro added. He called on the university’s board to meet soon to decide if her values were their values.

GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley said Wednesday that Magill’s answer was “disgusting” and that the views of the university leaders are putting their institutions’ tax-exempt status at risk.

“Calling for the genocide of Jews is no different than calling for genocide of any other ethnic, racial, or religious group,” the former U.N. ambassador said. “As POTUS, this will end, or we’ll pull their tax-exempt status.”

On Wednesday, Magill caved.

“There was a moment during yesterday’s Congressional hearing on antisemitism when I was asked if a call for the genocide of Jewish people on our campus would violate our policies,” Magill said in a video statement.

“In that moment, I was focused on our university’s long-standing policies – aligned with the U.S. Constitution – which say that speech alone is not punishable.

“I was not focused on, but I should have been, the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate. It’s evil, plain and simple. I want to be clear: a call for genocide of Jewish people is threatening, deeply so,” she said.

During her testimony before Congress, Magill said UPenn has formed a task force to deal with antisemitism and a plan centering on “safety and security, engagement, and education.”

However, the track record on campus tells a different story, members of the committee said. Several asked Magill about the Palestine Writes Festival, an event that featured several prominent antisemites (including Roger Waters of Pink Floyd) and was held on the eve of Yom Kippur — with the permission of Magill’s administration.

“As president, I am committed to a safe, secure, and supportive educational environment so that our academic mission can thrive,” said Magill. “It is crucial that ideas are exchanged, and diverse viewpoints are debated. As a student of constitutional democracy, I know we need both safety and free expression for universities and, ultimately, democracies to thrive. In these times, it can be difficult for these competing principles to balance.”

Magill has been under pressure from donors and alumni who have criticized her handling of antisemitic incidents on campus, which have included vandalism of the Hillel building and antisemitic slogans projected onto campus buildings. Several major donors announced they will no longer write checks to Penn. Penn is also under investigation by the federal government for antisemitic incidents.

Eyal Yakoby, a Jewish student at Penn, spoke at a press conference Tuesday about Magill’s silence in the face of antisemitic demonstrations calling for the destruction of Israel. His classmates and professors have told him that as a Jew, he deserved to die, he said.

“As a student, despite what my university says, I do not feel safe,” Yakoby said. “Let me be clear: I do not feel safe.”

Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild (D-Lehigh), who sits on the committee, said, “I so wish that this hearing was one where we were having a robust intellectual discussion” about the limits of free speech, and she praised “the brilliant minds we have in front of us.”

“As a Jewish mother of two students who are now fully launched and I had to send off to college not so many years ago, I am very, very sympathetic to the concerns of the students and the parents,” said Wild. “About their safety, emotionally, physically, and otherwise.”

In remarks that echoed several other Democratic representatives, Wild brought different kinds of prejudice into the discussion of antisemitism.

“But it’s not just about antisemitism. It’s about all forms of hate speech, whether it’s anti-LGBT, Islamophobia, whatever it is racist language. Students deserve a place of safety, emotionally and physically. But at the same time, I think of college as the place where we learn to think critically.”

Later on Tuesday, Wild refused to support a House resolution condemning antisemitism, voting “present” instead.

Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-Armstrong) noted, “Nowhere have these hateful ideas found a safer home than on college campuses,” and many university leaders have “not met this moment.”

Thompson also pointed out that many members of the Penn faculty publicly support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, boycotting Israeli universities, people, and companies. “It is impossible for a faculty member to support BDS and treat Israeli academics fairly,” he said.

Magill said they “strongly oppose BDS” and have many ties to Israel and Israel universities.

Asked to comment after the hearing, Yakoby said, “I wish Magill had addressed the concerns brought by the committee members of Congress. There are violations of school policy that have gone unaddressed. I wish she had owned up to the mishandling of the school and then provided the ways she is planning to right her wrongs.”

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DelVal Dems Oppose National Defense Authorization Act

The $886 billion 2024 National Defense Authorization Act  (NDAA) passed in the U.S. House Friday, with the Delaware Valley’s Democratic representatives voting against it and Bucks County Republican Brian Fitzpatrick voting for it.

At issue are GOP-backed amendments pushing back on new policies put in place by the Biden Defense Department (DoD) on contentious social issues like abortion, transgender medical procedures, and DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.) For example, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision sent regulating abortion back to the states, the DoD implemented new policies paying for travel for women in the armed forces who are stationed in states with abortion restrictions and want to travel out of state for the procedures.

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, all Republican members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee wrote the policy change “would force taxpayers to subsidize abortions by paying for service members or their dependents to travel to obtain the procedure and by granting additional leave for this purpose.”

Under the longtime rules of the Hyde Amendment, federal funding for abortions is not allowed. Critics say the Biden administration’s policy violates that rule.

Another amendment would block the military from funding gender procedures on minor children that could result in sterilization — including hormone therapy and puberty blockers. It is another issue injected into the NDAA by the Biden administration. National Review reported, “A team of military medical practitioners in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) defended “gender-affirming” care, including hormone replacement and puberty blockers for dysphoric minors as young as seven years old.”

Republicans argued the Biden administration is using the U.S. military to advance what they call “woke” politics.

“It’s a good thing the Republicans are in the majority, but it’s more important that we keep our promises to America and to our men and women who serve to defend us. And today is exactly what we did,” said Speaker Kevin McCarthy  (R-Calif.). The NDAA passed on a largely party-line 219-210 vote.

Delaware Valley Democrats disagree.

“The bipartisan annual defense bill that I proudly passed out of committee is no longer recognizable with all the extreme amendments tacked on,” Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester/Berks) wrote on Twitter. “It left me no choice but to vote against it. Our service members and their families deserve better.”

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) accused Republicans of taking a bipartisan bill and “transforming” it “into an extremist manifesto that targets lifesaving care for women in uniform, attacks LGBTQ+ service members, and chooses the books that military families can read.”

“For decades, Congress has crafted and passed the National Defense Authorization Act on a bipartisan basis. While major pieces of legislation like this are – of necessity – works of compromise, House Democrats worked to craft a bipartisan bill that demonstrates our commitment to national security and ensures that our service members and their families would get the support that they deserve,” said Scanlon.

Rep. Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) said she voted against the bill because it was “hijacked by extremists.”

“I cannot and will never compromise on a woman’s freedom to control her own body,” said Wild. “This bill undermines female servicemembers’ access to reproductive healthcare at the expense of our military readiness. It is a slap in the face to our female servicemembers—women who defend American freedom every day—to tell them that they do not deserve the fundamental freedom to make their own healthcare decisions.”

Chris Gustafson, a spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, noted that Wild voted against an amendment to the NDAA that prohibits taxpayer dollars from going to the Taliban.

“Voting against pay raises for our troops and the safety of our country over taxpayer-funded late-term abortions and woke transgender ideology is extreme and dangerous,” said Gustafson. Wild is “following an extreme and dangerous agenda led by the fringe elements of their party that are entirely out of touch with the American people.”

He added Wild should explain why she is “willing to put our national security risk for (her) woke agenda.”

Neither Dean nor Fitzpatrick responded to requests for comment.

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DelVal Dems Back Higher Mortgage Fees for Good Borrowers

Three Delaware Valley congresswomen voted to keep President Joe Biden’s new policy that lowers mortgage fees for borrowers with poor credit and raises them for would-be home buyers who’ve earned higher credit scores.

Democratic Reps. Madeleine Dean (Montgomery), Mary Gay Scanlon (Delaware/Philadelphia), and Chrissy Houlahan (Chester/Berks) voted against the Middle-Class Borrower Protection Act that would reverse the fee changes that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now charge.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) and Rep. Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) voted for the bill to stop the new fee structure. It passed the House Monday on a 230-189 bipartisan vote, with all Republicans present, plus 14 Democrats.

“In May, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the agency which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, made changes to the structure of upfront mortgage fees that would result in higher costs for borrowers with higher credit scores,” Fitzpatrick told DVJournal. “Hardworking middle-class families looking to purchase a home should not have to subsidize less creditworthy, riskier borrowers. We must ensure our housing finance system remains stable so we avoid a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis while pursuing bipartisan solutions to housing affordability. I am happy to see the Middle-Class Borrower Protection Act pass the House with a bipartisan vote.”

Biden’s progressive policy, which took effect May 1, promotes “social justice” by reducing lending fees on borrowers with lower credit scores. Meanwhile, home buyers with a credit score over 680 will pay about $500 more per year on a $400,000 loan. That adds up to more than $14,000 throughout a 30-year mortgage.

And borrowers who put aside enough in savings for a 20 percent down payment will pay the highest fees under the new FHFA policy.

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), who introduced the act, repeatedly said the new fee structure is “a socialist redistribution of wealth.”

“It’s a scheme created by the Federal Housing Finance Agency that forces financially responsible homebuyers with good credit to subsidize those with bad credit. Responsible action should never be penalized, and irresponsible action shouldn’t be subsidized. Under this rule, most new homebuyers will pay higher fees to offset the costs of riskier borrowers,” Davidson said.

Under the new LLPA (Loan-Level Price Adjustment) fee schedule, the borrower with modest credit — 640 to 659 — who puts down just 5 percent would enjoy a fee drop from 2.75 percent to 1.5 percent. But a borrower with good credit (740-759) with a 20 percent down payment would see their fee double from 0.5 percent to 1 percent.

Republicans and many responsible borrowers have lashed out against the policy, described by critics as income distribution applied to home ownership. Some 18 Republican governors also opposed the policy.

“We write to you in regard to the mandated May 1, 2023, changes to the loan level pricing adjustment (“LLPA”) structure employed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and ask that you reverse course on behalf of hardworking Americans across the country,” the Republicans said in a letter to President Joe Biden and his Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Sandra Thompson.

“In short, the new LLPA framework will inevitably increase mortgage costs for lower-risk individuals and handicap those borrowers with larger down payments. Further, the changes provide no incentive to borrowers to maintain good credit and will confuse borrowers at all credit levels.”

“Your actions are threatening the American housing system,” they added.

Treasurers and finance officials from 27 states, led by Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity, also urged Biden to end his “unconscionable” policy that requires people with good credit scores to subsidize mortgage loans for others.

“This new policy makes it more expensive for people with good credit to buy houses – and that’s absurd,” said Garrity. “Americans who have built a good credit score and saved enough to make a strong down payment should not be penalized and forced to pay more on their mortgage every single month. I’m proud that so many of my colleagues from across the country – representing a majority of states – have united to urge the immediate elimination of this policy.”

Dean, Houlahan, Scanlon, and Wild declined to respond to requests for comment.

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New GOP Ad Targets Wild as Soft on Crime

When 173 congressional Democrats voted to uphold Washington D.C.’s new crime policy, lowering the penalties for carjacking and other violent crimes, Pennsylvania’s Rep Susan Wild was proud to count herself among them.

On Wednesday, as U.S. Senate Democrats like Bob Casey prepare to support a GOP proposal to override the D.C. government and kill the proposal, Republicans are targeting Wild for her “soft on crime” vote in a new digital ad.

It’s a reminder of how quickly politics can turn in Washington, D.C.

“Forget safe streets and neighborhoods — House Democrats remain more concerned with promoting policies that appease violent criminals,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Richard Hudson“This is just a preview of how these extremist House Democrats will be held accountable for coddling criminals all cycle long.”

Wild is one of 15 Democrats being targeted by the NRCC.

From the ad:

 

Carjackers given slaps on the wrist by pandering politicians.

Not just the D.C. City Council. 

173 House Democrats voted for reduced sentences for violent crimes.

So crazy even President Biden won’t support the anarchy.

What’s next? Defund the police?

Tell Susan Wild to keep Pennsylvania families safe.”

Congressional Democrats complain that they’ve been left hanging by the White House after President Biden appeared to reverse his stance on the GOP resolution overriding the crime bill. As of Tuesday, support for the D.C. government had fallen so low, even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he was going to vote for the GOP measure.

“I’m going to vote ‘yes,’ Schumer told reporters. “It was a close question, but on balance I’m voting ‘yes.’”

Axios reports that House Democrats are “rip roarin’ pissed” over the White House reversal. “He [Biden] is going to have a much harder time asking people to take tough votes after this,” a House Democrat said.

Wild is viewed as a solidly liberal member of the Democratic caucus, with a 93.84 percent rating from Progressive Punch, which ranks members on their voting record. Her support for D.C.’s progressive crime policy isn’t her first political controversy. During the 2o22 campaign, she suggested that Carbon County, Pa. voters needed to be “schooled” because they chose to vote for Donald Trump.

“I’m not quite sure what was in their heads because the people of Carbon County are exactly the kind of people who should not be voting for a Donald Trump, but I guess I might have to school them on that a little bit,”  Wild said.

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BROOKS: Wild’s Speech Is an Unprecedented Attack on a Scholar

From Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech to Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society speech, notable leaders have employed university podiums to communicate ideas, to inspire or to warn us. Most use the opportunity to encourage a society falling on hard times, while some of our current leaders are instead failing in hard times.

On May 15, U.S. Rep. Susan Wild delivered the George Washington Law School’s 2022 commencement.  She chose this moment to attack a one of the prestigious school’s renowned professors. Though Wild did not state his name, anyone who follows Beltway legal matters knew she was referring to Professor Jonathan Turley. Wild conceded Turley “is without question well versed in constitutional law”. She then claimed that Turley had taken to “cable news and social media . . . [,] undermining his own past well-documented scholarship”.

What triggered her ire? Turley, a recognized authority on impeachment law, testified at both Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearing (1998) and Donald Trump’s (2019), and Wild found displeasure in Turley’s legal interpretations.

Dipping her toes into the cesspool of the partisan hatedom without diving in head-first, Wild claimed: “A law professor who at one time strenuously advocated that a president need not commit an indictable offense to be impeached, just this past year argued the opposite for a president more to his liking. A president no less who instigated an insurrection and a bloody assault on our democratic process and the rule of law.”

According to Turley’s Trump impeachment hearings testimony, not only did the professor vote for Presidents Clinton and Obama; he also voted against Trump in 2016 and has been publicly critical of Trump’s “policies, and his rhetoric, in dozens of columns.”

As Turley put it, “one can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president. To put it simply, I hold no brief for President Trump.” Turley continued, “We have never impeached a president solely or even largely on the basis of a non-criminal abuse of power allegation.”

The important point that Wild’s rationale seems to exclude is that Bill Clinton committed perjury, a felony. As articles for the Clinton  impeachment state, our 42nd president “willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony to the grand jury.” Sex was the cause for Clinton to lie but was not the legal grounds for impeachment.

Wild’s talk stands out for doing something other commencement speeches by governmental leaders did not. No other attacked a faculty member of the institution at which the speaker was speaking. Sure, other speakers have taken digs at other politicians. But Wild – a guest – dedicated over a minute to bashing Turley at the professor’s workplace, unduly politicizing and detracting from an otherwise inspiring speech.

Wild’s speech started in the same manner as George W. Bush’s 2001 Yale commencement speech, where he joked: “Those of you who are graduating this afternoon with high honors, awards, and distinctions, I say well done. And, to the C students, I say, you too can be president.” Wild’s academic record at law school seems to have fit the same, as her “grades in law school were decent, but were nothing that were going to open doors for me.” Humble, and her rise despite that can be an inspiration, as could be Bush’s more self-deprecating quip.

If one juxtaposes the humanity of a speech like Bush’s to Wild’s gratuitous dig at Turley, one should see the point even more. Indeed, the more memorable commencement speeches are both uplifting and informative. Some use a sentence or two to point out a political opponent’s gaffs. But spending paragraphs to attack the intellectually defensible position of a seasoned scholar is out of bounds. As an attorney, Wild should realize that a corruption or bending of truth is hardly a desired outcome.

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Dems Want to ‘Doctor’ Oz’s Name

“Is there a doctor in the House?” is an old cliche. But U.S. Rep. Susan Wild wants to keep one out of the Senate—and she thinks the press is hurting her cause.

The Pennsylvania Democrat is complaining about the coverage of Dr. Mehmet Oz, the GOP nominee for Senate who is best known for his award-winning TV show “Dr. Oz.” She wants the media to drop the “Doctor.”

“Please stop using ‘Dr.’ before Oz’s name,” Wild tweeted. “Use his name like we do for all other candidates. Or just his last name as we often do. He’s not practicing medicine. He’s running for office.”

Every year, Gallup asks Americans to rank the honesty and ethics of various professions, and “medical doctors” inevitably appear near the top of the list — usually right behind nurses. In the most recent survey, 67 percent of respondents said they believed doctors are ethical and honest, compared to 27 percent for bankers, 19 percent for lawyers, and just 9 percent for members of Congress like Wild.

If running on the “Doctor Oz” ticket is an unfair advantage, he is not the only one who has it. There are 17 doctors serving in Congress according to Patients Network Action. In fact, Oz was just one of three doctors in the Pennsylvania Senate race this year. Both Dr. Val Arkoosh and Dr. Kevin Baumlin ran as Democrat candidates but dropped before the primary election.

As a practicing physician from Philadelphia for 21 years, Dr. Baumlin said he ran his campaign as a doctor trying to improve America’s healthcare system.

In his campaign video and website, Baumblin included the title “doctor” in his name, and he said it is appropriate for candidates to do so.

“I just go by Doctor B,” Baumlin said. “Even my campaign team called me ‘Doctor B.’ When I first announced my race, the Philadelphia Inquirer did not include Dr. in my name. The Inquirer had a set standard for addressing candidates and I thought it was appropriate and fine. They did the same thing with Oz, and he complained about it on Fox.”

First elected to Congress in 2010, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) still refers to himself as “Dr. Paul” on his website. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who spent 20 years working with indigent patients in Louisiana’s charity hospital system, includes “M.D.” at the end of his name.

According to Robert Hickey, Deputy Director at The Protocol School of Washington and author of the book “Honor & Respect: The Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address,” the title of doctor is both used professionally and socially.

“A doctor is ‘Dr.’, even when washing his car on a Saturday,” Hickey said. “So as a candidate he’ll continue to be ‘Dr. Oz.’”

In the United States, a person is only given one title at a time. It is never Senator Doctor or the Right Honorable Professor Dr. Smith. So, when a person has more than one title, they should be addressed by the one most pertinent to their position, Hickey said.

“Colin Powell was never ‘The Honorable General Colin Powell’, Hickey said. “And when it wasn’t exactly pertinent to either he let it be known that he preferred ‘General’ since he’d spent most of his life in the Army.”

As a pastor in a Baptist church, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) still calls himself “Reverend Warnock.” In fact, it is his Twitter handle.

Critics of Wild’s tweet were quick to point to First Lady Jill Biden, who has a doctorate degree in education and is notorious for insisting on being addressed as “doctor.” When The Wall Street Journal ran a light-hearted op-ed suggesting she set the title aside, the issue became a cause celebre among Democratic women. Jill Biden once held a sign with President Joe Biden which stated  “Dr. and the President Live here.’

On the White House’s website, she is referred to as Dr. Jill Biden.

Ironically, Wild herself used the honorific “Doctor” when the First Lady visited the Lehigh Valley last October. “Pennsylvania’s own Dr. Jill Biden is a true fighter for families, and I couldn’t be more excited to welcome her to the Greater Lehigh Valley next week to talk about the Build Back Better Agenda and our continued recovery from COVID-19,” Wild said in a statement.

According to the Emily Post Institute, a fifth-generation family business promoting etiquette, it is more common for a woman to go by “Dr.” than it was in the past.  When meeting someone with a doctorate degree for the first time, it’s always safe to address them as “Dr.”

Dr. Baumlin said there are more important issues to discuss than worrying about titles.

Wild’s opponent Lisa Scheller replied to Wild’s tweet with a photo of gas prices at $5.22 at a Lehigh Valley shell. Scheller said Wild was too preoccupied with Dr. Oz when she should be worrying about greater issues like rising gas prices.

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Southeast PA Key Battlefield In National GOP’s Hopes to Flip House

In Washington, D.C. Republicans only need five more seats to win control of the House. And they could pick up two of them in southeast Pennsylvania, strategists say.

As President Joe Biden’s poll numbers plunge, GOP hopes are rising for pick-ups in PA-6—currently represented by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan—and PA-7, where incumbent Democrat Susan Wild’s seat has already been labeled “lean Republican” by the non-partisan Cook Political Report.

At the same time, perennial Democratic hopes of taking out GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in the Biden-friendly First Congressional District have largely faded.

According to the data analysis website FiveThirtyEight, redistricting made Wild’s district more difficult to hold. Picking up Berks County was not ideal for Rep. Wild, nor was losing Stroudsburg—a borough in Monroe County that is a Democratic stronghold, said Charlie O’Neill, grassroots programs coordinator for the Leadership Institute.

Wild’s district is now considered one of the state’s three competitive congressional races, including races for an open seat in Beaver County and incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), according to FiveThirtyEight.

Although Fitzpatrick is a perennial target by the Democrats with his Biden-backing district, Samantha Bullock with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) said Republicans feel confident. Fitzpatrick’s opponent, 33-year-old army veteran Ashley Ehasz, has run a lackluster campaign, Bullock said, while Fitzpatrick has survived far more Democratic-friendly election cycles.

Federal Election Commission filings show Ehasz has $77,976 on hand, while incumbent Fitzpatrick has close to $1.4 million.

Wild may have twice the amount of cash as her Republican challenger Lisa Scheller, but veteran Democrat strategist TJ Rooney said this will be a difficult election cycle for the incumbent.

“Folks who have been elected in the last four or six years had nothing but favorable conditions to run as a Democrat,” Rooney said. “This time, the president has a very low approval rating and Americans, by and large, think the nation is heading in the wrong direction.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has both Houlahan and Wild in their “Frontline” program, a sign they believe the seats are at risk. Houlahan apparently believes it, too. Last week she hosted her 60th town hall meeting.

“Of all of the more recently elected members from Pennsylvania, she’s the head of the class,” Rooney said. “She’s done the things at home that will enable her to win this year.”

O’Neill isn’t so sure. Houlahan’s challenger, former Chester County Chamber of Commerce president Guy Ciarrocchi won a tough, competitive primary and is an experienced political player. And his background in the business community gives him credibility on the economic issues dominating this election cycle.

Both Houlahan and Wild voted with Biden 100 percent of the time, FiveThirtyEight reports, not a positive when the president’s approval is around 40 percent in most polls.

“It’s going to be hard for Wild to talk about the pocketbook and kitchen table issues when her president is largely responsible for inflation, O’Neill said.

Wild’s opponent, Scheller, serves as president and chairman of her family’s manufacturing company. She ran against Wild in 2020 and lost by 4 points.

Adding Carbon County and removing the majority of Monroe County will make Wild’s pathway more difficult, Bullock said.

“In 2020, Donald Trump won Carbon County with 65 percent of the vote as opposed to his 44 percent in Monroe County, which is now almost entirely eliminated from the new district,” Bullock said. “If Scheller mirrored Trump’s 2020 performance in Carbon County, she would have defeated Wild in 2020 due to her performance in Northampton and Lehigh Counties.”

Wild also faces a $50,000 ad campaign organized by the Pennsylvania Hispanic Republican Coalition of Pennsylvania targeting Hispanic voters in her district. It is the first Spanish-language advertising from the right in Pennsylvania, according to Chris Mundiath, the group’s chairman.

“We are investing in reaching the Latino community in areas like the Lehigh Valley and Hazleton where we can really make a difference,” Mundiath said. “Democrats will no longer have a stranglehold over our demographic in our commonwealth. We are ready to lead the movement.”

Lehigh County has the state’s largest Hispanic population at 26 percent, according to the Pennsylvania State Data Center. Wild won the county by a 6-point margin.

Back in Chester County, Ciarrocchi laid out a mantra voters are likely to hear again and again between now and November.

“This election is a referendum. If you like $5 gas, paying up to 40 percent more for groceries, rising crime rates, unsecured borders, our children being used as political pawns, and Russia and China growing in power, vote for Congresswoman Houlahan. She supported every single policy that brought us to this dangerous place.”

 

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