Michael G. "Mike" Fitzpatrick (born June 28, 1963) is the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party. He was reelected to Congress in 2010, and previously represented the district from 2005 to 2007, but lost to Patrick Murphy in 2006.
Early life, education, and law career
Fitzpatrick was born and raised in Bucks county. He graduated from Bishop Egan High School, now Conwell-Egan Catholic High School, in Fairless Hills.
He moved to Florida to attend St. Thomas University with an academic scholarship where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1985 from the school's honors program. He then earned his law degree from the Dickinson School of Law at Penn State University. He was named business manager of the Dickinson Journal of International Law.
After graduating law school in 1988, Fitzpatrick was admitted to the practice of law at the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the Supreme Court of New Jersey. In 2000, he practiced at the United States Supreme Court.
In January 1995, Fitzpatrick was appointed to the Bucks County Board of Commissioners by an 11-member panel of county judges.
The appointment was made to fill the unexpired term of Mark Schweiker, who had been elected lieutenant governor. Fitzpatrick, who was an attorney at a firm active in county affairs, was the candidate preferred by county Republican Party leaders. The appointment was not without controversy, however, as some claimed the judges had acted solely on the recommendation of the county Republican Party.
Early congressional career
In July 2004, popular moderate Republican Jim Greenwood unexpectedly withdrew from his re-election campaign. In the party convention held to select Greenwood's replacement on the ballot, the more conservative Fitzpatrick won the nomination over Greenwood's choice, state Senator Joe Conti, thanks to the backing of Bucks County Republican Party boss Harry Fawkes. Fitzpatrick went on to face liberal activist Virginia "Ginny" Schrader (something of a "sacrificial lamb candidate," chosen before Greenwood withdrew) in the general election.
Fitzpatrick won the general election against Schrader 55.3%-44.3%, with the remaining vote split between two minor candidates. The Pennsylvania 8th District includes all of Bucks County, a sliver of Montgomery County, and parts of two wards in Northeast Philadelphia.
Fitzpatrick faced Democrat Patrick Murphy in the November general election of 2006.
In January 2006, Fitzpatrick said he had donated to charity the $21,500 he received from political action committees headed by U.S. Representatives Bob Ney (R-OH), Tom DeLay, (R-TX), and Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA).
Fitzpatrick was endorsed by several environmental groups including the Sierra Club. He was the only incumbent Republican congressman in Pennsylvania who had the support of the environmentalist lobby during this election.
The Cook Political Report rated this race as "Leans Republican". However, Congressional Quarterly rated this race as "Toss-up" (see Notable U.S.
House elections, 2006 — Pennsylvania). An October 30, 2006 poll by Constituent Dynamics showed Fitzpatrick trailing Murphy 47% to 50%.
It was a very close election; The two candidates were within 1%, with Fitzpatrick initially trailing by just over 1,500 votes out of nearly 250,000 cast.
On November 8, with all precincts reporting, Murphy led by 1,521 votes. Philadelphia television station NBC 10 later reported that Fitzpatrick had conceded the election to Murphy. He along with Mike Sodrel (R-IN) and Joe Schwarz (R-MI) were the only freshman Republicans to be defeated in 2006 (the latter albeit in a primary).
In May 2006, Fitzpatrick introduced the Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006, which requires most schools and libraries to actively restrict minors from access to "Commercial Social Networking Websites" and "Chat Rooms."
In late July, the DOPA Act overwhelmingly passed the House. Speaking before the vote was taken, Fitzpatrick said, "The social networking sites have become, in a sense, a happy hunting ground for child predators".
Fitzpatrick served on the United States House Committee on Financial Services and the United States House Committee on Small Business.
Career between terms
After the loss to Murphy, Fitzpatrick re-entered the practice of law, taking a position with Middletown Township law firm—and major Republican Party contributor -- Begley, Carlin, and Mandio.
In the fall of 2007, the Bucks County Commissioners asked Fitzpatrick, along with former Commissioner Andy Warren and former Common Pleas Judge William Hart Rufe to co-chair an effort to pass a ballot initiative authorizing the county to borrow $87 million for open space preservation. The initiative, which was also endorsed by Congressman Murphy, passed by a large margin.
Later congressional career
Throughout 2007, there was much speculation that Fitzpatrick would seek to reclaim the seat in Congress that he lost to Murphy. Fitzpatrick laid the rumors to rest in January, 2008 by announcing that he would not be running for Congress, but instead would challenge freshman state Representative Chris King in the 142nd District. Despite charges by some Democrats that he was "afraid to run against Murphy because he knows he would lose," Fitzpatrick claimed that he was interested in the job because of his "passion ... in solving local problems and serving the local community," as well as a desire to "change the way business is done in Harrisburg."
However, family health problems forced Fitzpatrick to end his bid for state representative in early February. Fitzpatrick yielded his spot on the ballot to Republican activist Frank Farry (who went on to win the seat), and supported Doylestown pharmaceutical company executive, Thomas Manion, for the congressional seat he once held.
On January 23, 2010, Fitzpatrick announced he would once again run for Congress in November. He won the Republican nomination with 77% of the vote in the May primary. A Franklin and Marshall poll taken in mid-September 2010 suggested the race was leaning towards Fitzpatrick at that time. On November 2, Fitzpatrick defeated Murphy and was elected the Congressman for the 8th district.
On November 2, 2010, Fitzpatrick defeated Patrick Murphy to reclaim his old seat. He was sworn in on January 5, 2011 and has joined the Republican Main Street Partnership. His term is scheduled to expire in January 2013.
On January 5, 2011, Fitzpatrick failed to attend the swearing-in ceremony for members because he was attending an alleged fundraiser in the Capitol, running afoul of the Constitution, which requires all members to swear an oath before taking office, and House rules, which require that the oath be taken within proximity of the Speaker. As a result, two votes that he cast prior to taking the oath were nullified. The oath was administered the following day. A spokesperson for Fitzpatrick denied the event was a fundraiser and asserted that donations made went to cover the cost of campaign-provided buses to Washington. Some Congressional ethics experts contend that the reception was in fact a fundraiser and have called for an investigation by the House Ethics Committee.
- Committee on Financial Services
- Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises
- Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (Vice Chair)
Fitzpatrick and his wife Kathleen, a former teacher, reside in Levittown, Pennsylvania, with their six children.
He is affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America and is a member of the Temple Lower Bucks Hospital Board of Directors, the Conwell-Egan Catholic Board of Advisors, the Knights of Columbus, the Levittown Bristol Kiwanis Club, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Brehon Law Society. He is also an Eagle Scout from the Bucks County Council and former president of that council, and was honored with the Silver Beaver Award for his services to scouting.
Fitzpatrick was diagnosed with colon cancer in June 2008. He reported in November 2008 that the cancer went into remission after chemotherapy.
January 26, 2012