The freshman member of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners has picked a fight with Republican Congressman Pat Meehan in calling him a “fraud” on social media.
Minority member Joe Gale – who was elected to the board in November alongside Democrats Josh Shapiro and Val Arkoosh despite lacking his party’s endorsement — recently wrote a diatribe about Meehan on his official Facebook page.
Gale, 27, called Meehan "nothing but a fraud," while simultaneously swinging his support behind Montgomery County businessman Stan Casacio for Meehan’s 7th district seat.
“Congressman Pat Meehan is defrauding the Republican voters of the 7th congressional district by misrepresenting himself when he runs as a Republican and then goes to Washington and votes like a Democrat,” Gale wrote in an e-mail.
“Philadelphia Democrat donors, including union boss John Dougherty, give and raise thousands of dollars for Meehan’s campaign because, when it counts, they can count on Meehan to vote with the Democrats.”
When asked about this post recently, though, Meehan didn’t seem to be taking the bait.
“These are the politics of today. The interesting thing is, my record is very similar to every other elected member from the Republican Party here in southeastern Pennsylvania,” he said.
“So, the real outlier is my opponent, but I’m focused on the issues that I think make a difference to our region, and I’m going to continue to fight for the things that are good for our region, and I think I can be both a good Republican and a responsible steward of the interests of my area and that’s the way we’ve been acting.”
In defending his stance, Gale cited Heritage Action, a sister organization of the conservative think-tank Heritage Foundation, which examines the voting records of representatives in Congress and rates how their votes align with conservative values in general.
“Congressman Meehan has a failing scorecard of only 36 percent,” Gale said.
“In fact, his rating is closer to that of Nancy Pelosi than the average Republican in the House.”
But National public affairs strategist Larry Ceisler, principal of Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy, pointed to Gale's youth as a possible reason for his harsh characterization of Meehan.
“Maybe when [Gale] is 30, he will understand that you do have to work with people from the other party," said Ceisler. "When Bruce Castor was the minority member [of the board], he was able to get things done in Montgomery County. It’s in a much better place now. That’s because you have a Democratic majority able to work with minority members and making them part of the process. Its not like Pat Meehan is some wild-eyed liberal. Hey, it’s the excitement of youth.”
“You work together with you colleagues for what you know is in the best interest in our region and I’m going to continue to do that and I think you’ll see my colleagues from the other side often times do the same,” Meehan went on to say.
“And you’ll find us often times mutually supporting things that may not get support in other parts of the country from either side or both sides of the aisle, but its one of the things that’s been effective for our region, and I continue to maintain that's how I will conduct myself.”
When asked about any turmoil in his party this election season, Montgomery County Republican Committee Chairman Bill Donnelly called Meehan a “commonsense conservative.”
“Pat Meehan has been fighting for Montgomery County families for years. He's been fighting to get our debt under control and hold Washington accountable to Pennsylvania taxpayers," he said.
"His commitment to creating jobs in our region and fighting for the middle class makes him a perfect fit to represent Montgomery County in Congress. That's why he's received the overwhelming endorsement of the Montgomery County Republican Committee and why we eagerly support him for reelection this year."
The primary election is Tuesday, April 26.