WASHINGTON -- The first Democrat hoping to take on Bucks County Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick formally opened his campaign Thursday. Kevin Strouse, a 33-year-old former Army Ranger, declared his candidacy for the 2014 race in the Bucks-based 8th Congressional district.
Strouse, who has never run for office, played up his military background and outsider status in a press release announcing his candidacy Thursday morning. He served three tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, and spent the past eight years working in the CIA, according to his campaign.
"When I was serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, it didn’t matter whether the Ranger next to me was a Democrat or a Republican, all that mattered was that we worked together and got the job done," Strouse said. "I've dedicated my life to public service and solving tough challenges and I know Washington can do better at strengthening the middle-class, protecting our national security and creating good paying jobs. The families of the 8th district need leaders who have proven they will work for common-sense solutions, not the broken politics of Washington."
Strouse, who grew up in Delaware County, left the CIA last month and moved to Bensalem. Vying for office in a moderate district, Strouse made no mention of party affiliation in his release announcing his candidacy.
He is hoping to take on Fitzpatrick in a closely-divided district that has historically flipped between the parties, but became slightly more Republican-leaning in 2010 redistricting. The House Majority PAC, a Democratic group, has named Fitzpatrick as one of its top 10 targets for 2014.
Fitzpatrick, however, was a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee target last year and easily defeated Kathy Boockvar. He ran well ahead of fellow Republican Mitt Romney.
The chairman of the Bucks County Democratic Committee, John Cordisco, told the Bucks County Courier Times that two other people are also interested in running.
Strouse comes from a long line of veterans -- his father was in Vietnam and grandfather in World War II. After his own time in the Army Strouse worked at the CIA's counter-terrorism center for six years and spent the past two years investigating illicit financial activities.
Strouse has a bacherlor's degree from Columbia and a masters in Security Studies from Georgetown.