WBCB live-streamed the Republican debate between Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick
and primary challenger Dean Malik, Tuesday, at the Lower Bucks campus of Bucks
County Community College. It was a full house – a mixed crowd of supporters, each
rooting for their candidate.

What they said:

Congressman Fitzpatrick is completing his first term and noted he has introduced a
number of bills with bipartisan support and many distinctly related to the district.
(The former 8th congressional district was changed to the 1st district in the redrawing of the district boundaries statewide.)

Malik and Fitzpatrick are both Republicans, both attorneys, and Fitzpatrick is a former
FBI supervisory agent. Malik, a former Marine officer with duty in Iraq, emphasizes he
is a staunch conservative and strict constitutionalist.

In his first term, Fitzpatrick introduced a number of bills that made it into law. He
proudly reaches across the aisle and is a member of the No Labels congressional group –
Republicans and Democrats working together to reach agreement on legislation.

Fitzpatrick said he believes that the exchange of ideas in Congress or any field is

Malik said, more or less, Republicans are on the losing end, usually.

The congressman said he has visited over 100 businesses and many citizens groups in this
term, calling this a litmus test for decision-making and legislative activity. He pointed
out the members of congress represent all citizens within the district.

But “bipartisanship” in the Congress serves to water down Republican principles and
policies, according to Malik. He does not consider it a plus that Fitzpatrick was
recognized by a Washington university as the most bipartisan congressman in the

There was agreement, however. Both believe in term limits. Both believe in the uptick in
the economy, changes in the tax code and defense spending, basically the
Trump/Republican agenda. And they agreed on the constitutional equality of all branches
of government, a point that arose about the president needing to seek congressional
approval for “war” action.

The two were not entirely in concert on foreign relations, with Malik appearing more soft
on Putin and Assad, however, that needed much more time for clarity, I felt.
Malik believes his early support of President Trump distinguishes himself from
establishment Republicans along with his conservatism. Fitzpatrick likely falls into the
“moderate” basket.

An interesting note: The debate was covered by a Japanese reporter based in New York,
who interviewed several people, including me. He said these congressional races are
viewed as a bellweather of President Trump’s support, which is why he is here. We’ll
see on May 15 in Pennsylvania if they’re right.

I disagree, however. All politics is local.