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June 03, 2020

U.S. Rep Brian Fitzpatrick challenged by Andy Meehan in Republican primary

Christina Finello defeats Skylar Hurwitz on the Democratic ballot for the 1st U.S. House District

Primary Election U.S. House
2020 Pennsylvania primary fitzpatrick Staff photo/PhillyVoice

A sign outside a polling place in Philadelphia directs people where to go to vote on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.

In Pennsylvania's 1st District of the U.S. House, there are contested primaries on the Republican and Democratic sides of the ballot. The congressional district covers portions of Bucks and Montgomery counties.

On the Republican side, incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick is challenged by Andy Meehan, a financial planner and investment advisor who has criticized Fitzpatrick for his bipartisan leanings in Congress.

  • RESULTS: Democratic Primary
  • Christina Finello: 10,139 (77.04%)
  • Skylar Hurwitz: 3,022 (22.96%)
  • 55.62% of precincts reporting; All results are unofficial until certified by the state

Fitzpatrick was elected in 2016 and previously served as as an FBI supervisory special agent and special assistant U.S. attorney. He held onto his seat in 2018 after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered all of the state's districts to be redrawn.

Much of Fitzpatrick's time in office has focused on the issues of border security, government reform and the opioid epidemic. He has campaigned on promising security and economic opportunity. In the run-up to the 2020, election, Fitzpatrick has leaned closer to President Donald Trump, echoing claims that China is responsible for the spread of COVID-19.

  • RESULTS: Republican Primary
  • Brian Fitzpatrick: 13,166 (56.4%)
  • Andy Meehan: 10,179 (43.6%)
  • 53.31% of precincts reporting; All results are unofficial until certified by the state

Meehan's campaign is centered on support of the Second Amendment and anti-abortion causes, as well as opposition to providing sanctuary status to undocumented immigrants. He also advocates for term limits and free open public town halls and debates.

On the Democratic ticket, the Associated Press has projected Bucks County solicitor and Ivyland Borough Councilmember Christina Finello will defeat Skylar Hurwitz, a technology entrepreneur based out of New Hope. 

Finello is a clinical psychologist who previously worked for the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services. She also formerly served as deputy director of Housing and Human Services for Bucks County.

Though her campaign resources are limited, Finello has advocated to expand health care access for veterans, prioritize mental health and substance abuse treatment, and lower the cost of insurance and prescription drugs. She also aims to decrease the burden of student debt and enhance retirement security for seniors. She has pledged support for unions and working class families.

2020 Primary Election: Joe Biden wins Pennsylvania primary amid protests and pandemic

Hurwitz formerly served in the office of Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, where he gained experience in Washington politics. He also worked on a SunShot initiative grant at the National Association of Regional Councils, focusing on lowering the bureaucratic costs of solar installations.

More recently, Hurwitz managed a a $40 million grant portfolio for Conservation International in Arlington, Virgina.

With a more progressive and environmental-minded campaign, Hurwitz is pushing for tax reform that would give more disposable income to families and increase some of the burden on corporations that automate jobs. In Bucks County, Hurwitz hopes to repurpose and revitalize commercial structures to provide affordable housing to young people and seniors, rather than pursue new developments on natural green spaces.

Former Pennsbury School Board member Debra Wachspress, once considered the leading Democratic challenger to Fitzpatrick, dropped out of the race in February after a lawsuit accused her of using racial, religious and homophobic slurs during an executive session of the board.

Due to the unprecedented volume of mail-in ballots,  it is likely exact vote totals for Pennsylvania's primary races won't be known for several days. Approximately 1.8 million Pennsylvania voters requested mail-in ballots for the primary election, a trend driven by the uncertainties of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

All primary election results are unofficial until they are certified by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation.