Montco doctor seeking 13th Congressional seat raises $218K in a month

Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, a professor of clinical anesthesiology and critical care at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, just announced that she has raised $218,000 since filing paperwork on March 5 to run in the 2014 Democratic primary election for the 13th Congressional District.

Arkoosh, who lives in Springfield Township, Montgomery County, issued her statement to the Daily News five days in advance of the April 15 federal deadline for quarterly campaign finance reports.  A spokeswoman for Arkoosh said the $218,000 does not include any loans from the candidate. Arkoosh's husband, Jeff Harbison, gave the maximum allowable federal donation to the campaign, the spokeswoman said.

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Dr. Valerie Arkoosh addresses a 2009 rally for insurance reform at U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz's office in Montgomery County.

There's a curious back-story to Arkoosh's campaign -- Harbison has served for years as treasurer for U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz's congressional campaign committee.  He was last listed in that role in Schwartz's 2012 annual report, filed on Jan. 31.  The 13th District seat is opening because Schwartz on Monday said she will run for governor next year.

So Arkoosh should have the inside track for Schwartz's support, right?  But former Philadelphia City Controller Jonathan Saidel filed federal paperwork on March 21 to run for the 13th District seat. And Saidel is chairman of the new political action committee Schwartz announced this week to run for governor.

Also filed to run in the 13th District, which covers parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, are state Rep. Brendan Boyle of Northeast Philly and state Sen. Daylin Leach of Montgomery County.  The Daily News first reported Tuesday that former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies is thinking about a run for the seat she held from 1993-1995.  Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro is also considering a campaign.

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