A woman’s right to choose is a priority issue in the upcoming midterm election and it’s no secret that Brian Fitzpatrick, the Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District’s Republican incumbent, has repeatedly voted against women’s reproductive rights and health care.
“Indivisible PAC provided our district with signs that call out Fitzpatrick’s anti-choice stand after volunteers with Indivisible Bucks County let them know how frequently signs were disappearing,” said Kierstyn Zolfo of Indivisible Bucks County. Zolfo also is a contributing columnist for the Bucks County Beacon.
“Brian Fitzpatrick is Anti-Choice” says the signage placed to help boost the pro-choice stance of his challenger, Democrat Ashley Ehasz.
According to Zolfo, within minutes of placement and with the volunteer still on site, the sign was swiped.
“I was shocked that someone would be so brazen,” said Gayle Share-Raab of Newtown Township, who witnessed the sign being stolen. “It just made sense to take pictures documenting the theft.”
As disturbing as the theft was, it’s possible that the individual seen removing the sign is not a novice at campaign sabotage.
“When I found out the next day that the driver’s license of the truck in the photos matched the plate shown in a similar incident from earlier this year, I decided I had to take action,” Share-Raab said and subsequently filed a police report with the Newtown Township Police Department.
During the 2022 primary challenge convicted felon David Sommers was filmed, identified and charged by Lower Makefield police with the removal of political signage for then GOP congressional primary challenger Alex Entin.
“Sommers worked for Fitzpatrick’s campaign in 2016 and is a regular volunteer with Republican campaigns,” wrote Tom Sofield of Levittown Now in a May 2022 article.
Middletown Township’s Sommers first made headlines for the illegal smuggling and sale of turtles in 2017 and his subsequent conviction in 2019.
Theft of political campaign signs is a chargeable offense in Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Crimes Code: Title 18, Section 3921.
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition.
(a) Movable property.–A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with intent to deprive him thereof.
In PA Title 18, Section 3902, the grading of theft offenses with the property valued less than $50 constitutes a misdemeanor of the third degree.
Questionable tactics have repeatedly been tied to campaigns to re-elect Congressman Fitzpatrick.
In May of this year, former Trump aide and local GOP Philadelphia ward leader Billy Lanzilotti was paid $7,000 by the Fitzpatrick campaign. At approximately the same time, and as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lanzilotti was ousted from the local GOP for alleged ballot harvesting.
“Fitzpatrick staffers described him as a paid intern who was no longer affiliated with the campaign,” wrote the Inquirer.
During the Congressman’s first re-election bid in 2018, the Fitzpatrick campaign paid $6,000 to a Philadelphia man who impersonated a reporter for the purpose of having access to then Democratic contender, Scott Wallace.
Ariel Benjamin Mannes, a former police officer who had been hired by the campaign as part-time help, was reportedly dismissed once news of his misconduct became known, reported the Inquirer in a separate story. Neither Mannes nor staff from the Fitzpatrick campaign responded when contacted for comment for that story.