Army veteran unveils challenge to Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania House race

Army veteran unveils challenge to Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania House race
© Greg Nash

Ashley Ehasz, a former Army pilot and West Point graduate, on Tuesday became the first Democrat to jump into the race to unseat Rep. Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickBottom line Lawmakers who bucked their parties on the T infrastructure bill Framing our future beyond the climate crisis MORE (R-Pa.). 

In a video announcing her campaign, Ehasz railed against what she described as a “system that only works for those at the top,” saying the COVID-19 pandemic “has only made things worse.” Meanwhile, she continued, the wealthy only seem to get wealthier. 

“Politicians in Washington and Harrisburg talk out of both sides of their mouth and don’t do a thing to help the people,” Ehasz says in the video. “They’re too afraid to take on the powerful and only care about themselves. As things get worse, we get angrier.”

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“My name is Ashely Ehasz and I’m running for Congress because I am angry.”

At one point in her announcement video, Ehasz also takes a shot at “insurgents” who “raid halls of democracy," flashing images of both the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and Taliban fighters invading Kabul earlier this year.

While Ehasz is the first Democrat to enter the race for Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, she’s likely not the last. The winner of the primary will go on to face Fitzpatrick next year in what Democrats see as one of their best chances to flip a GOP-held House seat.

Fitzpatrick easily won reelection last year, defeating Democrat Christina Finello by a 13-point margin. Still, he is among a handful of House Republicans who held their seats in districts that former President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE lost. President BidenJoe BidenMarcus Garvey's descendants call for Biden to pardon civil rights leader posthumously GOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors MORE carried Pennsylvania’s 1st District by a nearly 6-point margin last year.

Still, Democrats face an uphill battle in 2022. Republicans need to flip only five seats next year to recapture control of the House. On top of that, the party of a new president tends to lose ground in Congress in midterm elections, and Biden’s approval rating has sunk in recent months.