Familiar Foes Battle for Penn. Rep. Seat

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BUCKS COUNTY, Pennsylvania -- Polls show Republicans are on track to win the 39 seats they need to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives. One of those seats may be in Bucks County, Pa., where two familiar foes are facing off again.

Many residents claim that visiting Bucks County is like stepping back in time. History lives here. In fact, many tourists come to the Philadelphia suburb for that "once upon a time" experience.

CBN News Sr. Editor John Waage discussed key races in the Senate for Republicans and Democrats and more on the Oct. 18 edition of the 700 Club.

Click play to watch the interview.

On Monday, however, the feeling in the air was far from happily ever after. Campaign signs and opposing television commercials blanketed the Bellwether region.

Still, two term Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) hopes that sentiment doesn't kick him out of the District 8 seat.

Registered Democrats slightly outnumber Bucks County Republicans and there are thousands of independent voters.

"We need to just start doing things right, and it needs to be for the nation," said resident Mita Heble. "Everybody needs to start doing the right thing, not just one party or the other.

Polls show independents giving an edge to Republican challenger Mike Fitzpatrick, who was defeated by Murphy in 2006 with less than 1,500 votes.

"Three years ago, I would not have thought I would be running for office. But three years ago, the national debt was $8 trillion, today it's $14 trillion," Fitzpatrick explained.

The father of six said his children's future, high unemployment and health care are the driving force behind his campaign.

At the age of 44, he watched the health care reform debate from a hospital bed as he battled colon cancer.

"I am the beneficiary of a miraculous recovery in the greatest health care system that ever existed," Fitzpatrick said. "So I am inspired to go to Washington to fight to protect that system and make it better."

Rep. Patrick Murphy declined CBN News' request for an interview.

"Voters in Bucks County have a clear choice when it comes to the November election," a statement released by Murphy's office read. "And a vote for Mike Fitzpatrick is a vote for the failed Bush policies, while a vote for Rep. Murphy is a vote for progress and a vote to keep jobs in America."

Like other Democrats in congressional races across the country, Murphy attacks his Republican challenger with television commercials about outsourcing American jobs.

"Well, he served longer with Bush than I did," Fitzpatrick said. "So, those policies, like the bank bail out, he supported. And the fact is the incumbent, Congressman Murphy, has done more to ship jobs overseas than probably all the previous congressmen I knew, growing up in this community."

"When he took office the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent," he added. "Since then, it's doubled. He can't explain that. He doesn't want to defend that record."

Ben Schuster is a college professor, a Pennsylvania native and life-long Democrat. He gives the voting edge to Republicans this campaign season.

"The Republicans have the better narrative," Schuster said. "They have a story that is resonating with the voters, and the Democrats have not come up with a satisfactory counter to that narrative and as a result, they're behind."

"They should stop playing in the yard and they should go back and do some work," said resident Bob Simpson.

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CBN News
Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.