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Pro-life activist raided by FBI challenges ‘pragmatic’ House Republican in primary

Mark Houck, the anti-abortion activist who was arrested by armed FBI agents last year, is running for Congress in Pennsylvania's moderate 1st Congressional District.

The pro-life activist whose home was raided by the FBI is now running for Congress. 

Mark Houck, who was acquitted of charges related to the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act earlier this year, announced recently that he is aiming to unseat GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., co-leader of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. 

Fitzpatrick’s campaign shrugged off the challenge in a statement to Fox News Digital, however. “Congressman Fitzpatrick is proud of his record of pragmatic, bipartisan leadership in the House for the people of Bucks and Montgomery counties. For the past three election cycles, he has defeated extreme opponents on both sides of the aisle and 2024 will be no different,” campaign spokeswoman Nancy McCarthy said.


Houck filed a Federal Election Commission document setting up his fundraising vehicle last week. His campaign website states, “I have seen first-hand what an out of control government can do to its citizens. I will fight to protect all people and their rights under God [and] our Constitution.”

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Armed FBI agents showed up to Houck’s home, where he lives with his children, to arrest him in September 2022. It came after he was accused of pushing a 72-year-old Planned Parenthood escort outside a clinic in Philadelphia the year before. 

The incident skyrocketed Houck’s public profile. He was later invited to President Biden’s State of the Union address earlier this year by House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., Fitzpatrick’s colleague in Pennsylvania’s House delegation. 

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Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent and U.S. attorney, has been in the House since 2017. He first represented Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District before a redrawn map put him in the nearby 1st District for his next three races. 

The prominent House Republican has also raised nearly $1.8 million so far this year, according to campaign finance data. Fundraising information was not immediately available for Houck. 

Houck’s campaign website is lacking key details as well. One section purportedly for endorsements said they are “forthcoming.” Meanwhile, the disclaimer usually seen at the bottom of a campaign website that indicates it is “paid for” by an entity related to the candidate appears to be missing. 

During a radio interview with 1210 WPHT earlier this month, Houck said Fitzpatrick’s family were “good people” but the congressman “hasn’t been representing my views or many others in this district.”

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“We’re not here to disparage Brian for his service to our great country, you know, but I think it’s time for Brian to move on to other things in his life. And we need to get fresh ideas, fresh perspective on the Hill, and I’m happy to do that,” he said.

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Houck would likely face an uphill battle to achieve victory in Fitzpatrick’s purple Pennsylvania district, which Biden won in the 2020 presidential race. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the district as a dead-even split between going blue and staying red. 

For now, it appears Houck’s platform will stick by his hardline conservative views. He said in his radio interview that he does not support rape or incest exceptions for abortion bans, claiming the procedure would hurt an unborn baby who did not commit the crimes. 

Abortion has thus far proved a potent political cudgel for Democrats ever since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

“When it comes to rape, incest and life of the mother, you know, my faith informs me on some of that. But let me say rape and incest, look, the child does not commit the crime,” Houck said. “The child doesn’t deserve the death penalty, and the reality of it is, we are further victimizing the mother. And, so, once we start recognizing that, we’ll realize that rape and incest is not a good excuse to terminate a human being.”

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