Democrat Christina Finello moves to unseat Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania's 1st Congressional District

  • Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick looks to retain his seat against Christina Finello, a Democrat with DCCC backing.
  • Fitzpatrick is one of three Republican House incumbents up for re-election in a district won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.
  • Pennsylvania redrew its congressional map in 2018 after being deemed unconstitutional by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
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Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and Christina Finello face off in Pennsylvania's 1st Congressional District in the second election since the redrawing of Pennsylvania's congressional map in 2018.

Fitzpatrick has outraised Finello fivefold, but Democrats hope to expand their hold on the House of Representatives after flipping 40 seats during the 2018 midterm elections, and hope that changes to Pennsylvania's district map offer a number of opportunities to do so. 

The candidates 

In 2016, Fitzpatrick was elected as the representative for Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District. In 2018, following court-ordered redistricting, Fitzpatrick's district number changed and he was elected to the state's 1st Congressional District. Fitzpatrick, along with Rep. John Katko of New York and Rep. Mike Garcia of California, is also one of three House Republican incumbents up for re-election in a district which was won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

A former FBI agent, Fitzpatrick has spoken out against President Donald Trump and historically has not always voted by party line. Fitzpatrick originally won the seat in 2016 after his older brother, Mike Fitzpatrick, stepped down after promising to limit himself to four terms in office.

Finello, Fitzpatrick's Democratic opponent, has served as the Deputy Director of the Bucks County Department of Housing and Human Services for over 5 years. In early July, Finello received a "Red to Blue" status from the Democratic National Campaign Committee, which provided her with organizational and fundraising support for the rest of her campaign.

Finello's campaign platform revolves around healthcare reform and expanding access to affordable healthcare, citing her own experience having major difficulties obtaining healthcare while pregnant and after, while parenting and raising her family. 

The district

Pennsylvania's congressional map was redrawn in 2018 by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania after its congressional map was deemed unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

The state's newly drawn 1st Congressional District now contains all of Bucks County, home of Strayer University and La Salle University, instead of splitting the county into two districts. The district also contains a small sliver of Montgomery County.

Clinton would have carried the district under its current boundaries by two points, 49% to 47%, over President Donald Trump, according to the Daily Kos.

The money race

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Fitzpatrick has raised $2.7 million, five times more than Finello who has raised $500,000. According to Finello's campaign, she brought in $300,000 of her campaign total in the second quarter of 2020 and raised $210,000 in June alone.

What experts say

The race between Fitzpatrick and Finello is rated as "leans Republican" by Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, the Cook Political Report, and "tilts Republican" by Inside Elections.

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