Fitzpatrick fundraiser canceled on debt-ceiling eve

As the deadline for raising the nation’s debt ceiling approaches Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R.,Pa.) was scheduled to attend a fundraising reception in his honor in New Hope.

But the $250-per-person event at the Clairmont Estate was canceled, said Michael J. Mabin, the chairman of Fitzpatrick's reelection campaign.

"Congressman Fitzpatrick will not be there," Mabin said in a statement released Wednesday evening, adding that the hosts maintaned the event to make a surprise wedding announcement. "No donations solicitations for Fitzpatrick for Congress will be made or collected at the now-private event," Mabin said.

Kevin Strouse, a Democrat seeking the nomination to oppose Fitzpatrick, had seized on the scheduled event to criticize the incumbent for fundraising during a fiscal crisis.

“This is shameful,” Strouse said in a statement earlier in the day. “Congressman Fitzpatrick needs to focus less on campaigning and get to work to avoid a catastrophe.”

Strouse, an Army Ranger veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and former CIA officer, is running for the Democratic nomination against small businesswoman Shaugnessy Naughton, owner of a printing business.

Bucks County Republican powerbroker Pat Deon Sr. was listed as host of the fundraising event, along with Claire Risoldi and Thomas J. French. Special guests were to include Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley and former Gov. Mark Schweiker, both of whom are from the county.