BUCKS COUNTY voters on Tuesday bolstered their reputation for ticket-splitting by helping to re-elect Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick along with Democratic candidates at the top of the ticket.
Fitzpatrick narrowly defeated Democrat Kathy Boockvar in the suburban 8th District, sending the moderate Republican back to Congress for his third term.
The nationally watched swing seat, which covers all of Bucks County and part of Montgomery County, was considered a toss-up earlier this year but steadily moved in the Republican's direction. But Bucks voters also voted to re-elect President Obama and Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr.
Fitzpatrick, a Levittown native and resident, was elected to Congress in 2004, defeated in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. He served for 10 years on the county commission before going to Washington.
The congressman has vowed to term-limit himself to eight years in the House, meaning that he has only one more congressional election ahead of him.
Boockvar, a Doylestown lawyer, ran a well-organized campaign, for a challenger. She pulled in $1.3 million, more than 75 percent of which came from individuals. Still, Fitzpatrick outspent her by about $1 million.
Her candidacy's kiss of death may have come in early October, when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pulled more than $1 million in TV-ad reservations from the Philadelphia market, leaving her with few resources to build up the name recognition necessary to compete with an incumbent who has been on local ballots for two decades.
Fitzpatrick will likely return to his seat on the powerful House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the banking industry, and could became chair of its subcommittee on investigations and oversight.
The rest of the area's congressional incumbents easily fought back challenges in their heavily partisan districts. Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz coasted to victory against Republican Joe Rooney in her Philadelphia and Montgomery County district.
Rep. Jim Gerlach defeated Manan Trivedi for the second time in two elections in a district that stretches across four counties in the western suburbs. Republican U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan took down Democrat George Badey, a lawyer who leads the Save the Mummers organization, in his heavily gerrymandered district, which stretches from the Main Line to Lancaster.
And in the city, Democratic U.S. Reps. Chaka Fattah and Bob Brady pummeled their nominal opposition.