The Bucks County congressman is the first Republican that Brady PAC has endorsed this election cycle.
U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s independent bona fides have gotten a boost with an endorsement from the gun-control focused Brady PAC.
Announced Wednesday, the endorsement makes Fitzpatrick the first Republican that the group, which backs candidates who support gun safety legislation, has endorsed this election cycle.
“Rep. Fitzpatrick has lived a life of service to his country. As a prosecutor, an FBI special agent, and as a member of Congress, he has stood for what is best for the people he represents, even when it’s not easy,” said Brian Lemek, executive director of Brady PAC. “That’s the kind of leadership we look for in Washington — and that’s the type of leadership it will take to pass meaningful gun safety reforms.”
Fitzpatrick represents Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District, comprised of Bucks County and a sliver of Montgomery County. The two-term lawmaker is in what’s shaping up to be a tight re-election bid against Democrat Christina Finello, an Ivyland Borough council member and county solicitor.
Responding to the endorsement, Finello highlighted the gun-control measures that Fitzpatrick has not supported.
“Brian Fitzpatrick’s record on guns should be concerning to the families across our district,” Finello said in a written statement. “He voted three times to block legislation that would close dangerous gun loopholes. And he’s voted time and again against efforts to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental illness. That’s not a record I endorse, nor do the voters of Bucks and Montgomery counties.”
Fitzpatrick was one of only eight Republicans who voted for last year’s Background Checks Act of 2019, which would require more extensive checks for gun purchases. He also backed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which added a provision blocking people convicted of domestic violence from buying firearms.
He has said he was emotionally moved by meeting with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a gunman opened fire in February 2018, killing 17 people and wounding 17 more.
Polls have showed Fitzpatrick and Finello running neck-and-neck in the district, which is being watched nationally as a potential flip for Democrats.
Finello has reported some momentum in fundraising since securing her party’s nomination, but still trails Fitzpatrick significantly.
Brady PAC announced that, in addition to endorsing Fitzpatrick, it will be donating to his campaign.
The group is an offshoot of the group founded by Jim and Sarah Brady. Jim Brady was press secretary for President Ronald Reagan when he was shot during an assassination attempt on March 30, 1981, leaving him partially paralyzed for life.