This is the third in a series of interviews with candidates for Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District. All candidates were given the opportunity to speak with the Midweek Wire before the April 26 primary.
When Andy Warren announced his campaign for U.S. Congress last June, he laid out a 10-point pledge to voters that would be the crux of his campaign.
“I pledged to be the congressman from the 8th District who happens to be a Republican, and not a Republican congressman who happens to be from Bucks County,” Warren reiterated during an interview last week. “If nothing else, that’s become more ingrained in me.”
The difference in those phrases may seem subtle, but for Warren, the two could not be farther apart.
“The obligation is first and foremost to the hometown voters, not the in-town Beltway caucus,” Warren said. “You dance with them who brung ya.”
Warren is running on experience, with a limited budget. Compared to an opponent like Brian Fitzpatrick, the party’s endorsed candidate and brother of current 8th District Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, Warren’s funds seem a drop in the bucket. At the end of March, Fitzpatrick reportedly raised over $450,000 for his campaign, while Warren estimated his own funds around $50,000.
Fitzpatrick’s entrance into the race appeared to push the original front-runner, state Rep. Scott Petri, out, but Warren is not intimidated by the numbers against him.
“Sometimes, people have to amass great sums of money to introduce themselves to voters,” Warren said. “I have earned what people need hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy.”
Warren, 73, has been a teacher and track and field coach at William Tennent High School, supervisor in Warminster Township, Tullytown Borough Manager, Bucks County Community College Board of Trustees member, SEPTA board member, PennDOT executive and Bucks County Commissioner.
Currently, he is executive director of the PENJERDEL Council, a business trade group that seeks to improve construction and transportation in Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
“You can’t show up on election day and say, ‘I’m going to win,’ ” Warren said. “This is a thoughtful congressional district. In order to represent the people of the 8th District, you have to know them. You have to be known by them.”
Warren’s most notable public office was serving as Bucks County Commissioner from 1980 to 1995.
“As a commissioner, you are forced to work with a member of the opposite party,” Warren said. “That was a great experience, and we did it in a very tumultuous time in Bucks County.”
Warren’s current campaign hinges on campaign finance reform, energy independence, transportation and infrastructure investment, making U.S. defense a priority and upholding the Constitution. He also vows to vote only for bills that he can explain by writing on one sheet of paper and have been available for public review for at least 72 hours.
Warren previously ran for the 8th District seat as a Democrat in 2006 and lost the primary to Patrick Murphy, who went on to win the general election against Mike Fitzpatrick. He also tried to run for Bucks County Commissioner again in 2007 as a Democrat, but lost that race as well. He’s since re-joined the Republican Party, pointing to differences with the local Republican Party as reason for the brief Democratic stint.
Warren currently lives in Middletown with his wife Elaine, a retired special education teacher.
“I’ve never been as concerned for the future of this country as I am now,” Warren said. “It doesn’t have to be that way. I believe Congress should set goals, and while they may not accomplish them in two years, they must move forward.”