WASHINGTON - Brian Fitzpatrick, brother of Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), launched a campaign Thursday to replace his sibling in the Bucks County-based Eighth District, throwing a wrinkle into one of the most competitive House races in the country.
A former FBI agent who focused on campaign and election crimes, he vowed to take on graft.
"I've spent the better part of 14 years fighting corruption, and what better place than Washington, D.C.," Fitzpatrick, 42, said after announcing his run outside the Bucks County Courthouse.
Shortly after his announcement, he planned to attend the Bucks County Republican Party's first round of endorsement screening, along with four other GOP contenders, in a campaign already drawing national attention.
Mike Fitzpatrick, a four-term congressman, is retiring, holding to a term-limit pledge, but had more than $1 million left in his campaign account as of Sept. 30.
Brian Fitzpatrick said his name "shouldn't be an advantage, and it certainly shouldn't be a disqualifier."
"We base our votes on records, resumés, credentials, qualifications, and vision for the future, and that is it," he said.
Republican State Chairman Rob Gleason, however, said before the announcement: "People vote names."
The youngest of eight siblings, Brian Fitzpatrick grew up in Levittown and until recently lived in Southern California. He worked for the FBI for 14 years, leading its Campaign Finance and Election Crimes Enforcement program.
He said he submitted his resignation last week and has moved to Langhorne. Fitzpatrick said he began thinking about a run for Congress over the summer, while on assignment in Kiev, Ukraine, and made a decision after returning to the United States.
Responsibilities at the FBI delayed his announcement, he said.
The Eighth District, which includes Bucks and a small piece of Montgomery County, has regularly flipped between the parties.
The other Republicans running are State Rep. Scott Petri; Marc Duome, a neuropsychologist; Dean Malik, a former Bucks assistant district attorney; and former Bucks County Commissioner Andy Warren.
Petri's campaign said it looked forward to "welcoming [Fitzpatrick] back to Pennsylvania."
The county GOP plans to make its endorsement in February.
Democrats also have a primary contest, between State Rep. Steve Santarsiero and businesswoman Shaughnessy Naughton.