Rep. Chrissy Houlahan’s Trump-loving Opponent
Rep. Chrissy Houlahan should beat her opponent, and voting for her is critical. Her opponent is embracing the worst the right wing has to offer. Does he pose a threat?
- Nate Craig
In following Rep. Chrissy Houlahan’s opponent, John Emmons’ campaign to take PA’s 6th congressional district from her, I’ve noticed some troubling messages emerge from his campaign. However predictable the message may be at this point, he is trying desparately to scare Chester County voters into supporting him. His tactics are right out of the playbooks of President Trump in 2016, and 2018’s failed PA gubernatorial candidate, Scott Wagner.
Earlier in his candidacy, Houlahan’s opponent sang a different tune than he is singing now. When he started out, he sounding like a pre-Trump republican politician running a pre-Trump political campaign.
As 2020 has progressed, however, he revealed a political worldview that embraces fear-mongering and a promotes institutionalizing conservative Christianity. As I’ve watched his message devolve over these past few months, he has gone from promoting a message of bipartisanship in February to fire and brimstone by September.
In a February interview with the Reading Eagle, Emmons claimed he, “has the experience needed to work with people from across the political spectrum to get things done.” It almost sounded like an echo of the favorite 2016 catch phrase of Secretary Clinton.
By August, we found him making few attempts to hide how comfortable he is with the most extreme tenets of the far right. Co-hosting events with the Tea Party, he argues that suburbia -the important parts of his district- must be defended. He characterizes urbanization as both dangerous and criminal. That is a cultural assertion that’s based in racial purism.
In July and August he has co-hosted multiple town halls with local Montgomery and Chester County Tea Party groups entitled, “Abolishing the Suburbs.” In two of these events he was joined by right wing think tanker Stanley Kurtz. Kurtz works for The Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) and regularly writes for far right publication The National Review.
They are quick to talk about individual rights with the second amendment, then turn around and spurn the individual’s right to freely choose their own religion if their religion isn’t conservative Christianity. The EPPC adamantly opposes the separation of church and state. They favor imposing conservative Judeo-Christian views, prayer in school, onto the religiously diverse public through federal and state laws.
He is focusing on making voters in Chester County afraid of the leftist-puppet Joe Biden and claims that Chrissy Houlihan is a puppet of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He claims that the 6th district will suddenly turn into a scary extension of Philadelphia (with all of its … you know…). He echoes the anger of his president in fundraising emails and hints at how crime-ridden the 6th district will become if Rep. Houlahan keeps her seat.
Blurring the facts, his campaign distorts recent history. Secretary Clinton won the both the current and the former 6th district in 2016. Emmons intimates, or hints, that Biden and Houlahan would “steal Pennsylvania” if she stole the 6th district from him and President Trump.
To be charitable to Mr. Emmons, perhaps he may be attempting to remind voters that in 2016 an incumbent republican did hold onto PA’s former 6th district. However, the 6th district of 2016 was considered one of the most gerrymandered congressional districts in the country by the NYT.
The district changed just before 2018 to the point that -in spite of having the advantage of being an incumbent who had won both of his campaigns easily- former Rep. Ryan Costello abandoned his campaign shortly after the district lines were redrawn. Rep. Costello reeled at the thought of losing his seat, but eventually realized that his chances of winning an ungerrymandered 6th district were next to none.
For an aspirational, relatively young congressman to drop out of a race he had already begun was significant. Early on, Costello showed a clear interest in keeping his seat. He even went as far as making a paranoid accusation that his challenger, the businesswoman, and scientist, Chrissy Houlahan, sent her allies to trespass on his property.
In 2018 the PA Supreme court ungerrymandered the state’s congressional districts, including the amoeba-shaped 6th district. Pennsylvania was considered one of the most gerrymandered states in the country.
Pennsylvania, which voted under a new nonpartisan, court-ordered map, went from 13 Republicans and five Democrats to nine Republicans and nine Democrats.
The NYT continues:
This (result of an even number of Republicans and Democrats) didn’t quite match the popular vote, which broke for Democrats 55 percent to 45 percent, but the shift underscored that voting lines can matter as much as votes.
Before the district was ungerrymandered, Rep. Costello won by a significant margin.
To drive home the impact of an incumbent’s decision to drop out, incumbency is one of the best predictors of who will win an election. OpenSecrets.org is a website that describes the incumbent advantage in the following way, “(There is an) enormous financial advantage enjoyed by incumbents. That’s one of the reasons re-election rates are so high — incumbents generally don’t have to work as hard to get their name and message out.”
Emmons ominously tells prospective voters that we will descend into lawlessness under the leftists, and he says it in bold letters. That our cities are burning. He insinuates that if our suburbs go to Biden, that our suburbs will be abolished. If suburbs are abolished, they will be urbanized. If they are urbanized, then clearly our once beautiful suburban homes will burn like the cities are burning.
Rep. Houlahan’s opponent, Emmons’ rhetoric ought to disgust us. We have good reason to expect that our 6th district will continue to its blue-ward trajectory. On August 27, 2020 Rep. Houlahan’s opponent, John Emmons sent supporters the following email:
Our race is moving into the national spotlight, and the stakes are clear: We are the firewall against Joe Biden’s push to steal Pennsylvania away from President Trump.
We must defeat Chrissy Houlahan. We must run strong to ensure that President Trump wins Pennsylvania.
This week, Newsweek identified my race as one of “Eight Congressional Races Could Decide if Biden Beats Trump,” pointing out that:
“All eight of those freshman Democrats are running for re-election this year and those elections are being closely watched by the brass of both parties. ‘The districts Democrats flipped in 2018 are the places where we might expect to see the most voters move from Trump to Biden, but there aren’t many of them,’ says Dave Wasserman, House Editor for The Cook Political Report, which is nonpartisan. ‘These are largely suburban seats with swaths of voters who used to support Republicans and have shifted pretty strongly over.’”
I need your help. We need to continue to build up our war chest for the fall. We need to identify critical swing voters, make the case for the Republican ticket, and get them to the polls on election day.
Look around: Our cities are burning. Lawlessness rules the streets. America is under attack, denigrated by the leftists running the Democratic party.
The future of our nation is at stake. We must win in November.
The Newsweek article concluded:
“It remains to be seen whether the eight Democratic freshmen will be able to not only win re-election but also draw significant numbers of votes to Biden. All of their districts have big Republican and independent populations and despite the wins of 2018, none of the incumbents is considered a lock this year.”
Thank you in advance.
Republican Nominee for Congress, PA-06
His campaign emails sing the praises of President Trump. He lauds the President’s tremendous efforts to secure freedom from the unfair leftists, to liberate the “very fine people.”
In an election when the President is openly talking about his intent to suppress democratic votes, where fear and division have dominated the country’s body politic the last thing PA’s 6th congressional district needs is another Tea Party republican representing us in Washington.