As campaigns enter their final push before midterm elections Tuesday, two Georgetown alumni are clamoring to join the 20 alumni already serving in Congress, while other alumni run for other political seats.
Democrat Deborah Dingell (SFS ’75, GRD ’98) remains in control of her campaign to represent Michigan’s 12th Congressional District, while independent candidate Nick Troiano (COL ’11, GRD ’13) and Democrat Sandra Fluke (LAW ’12) continue their push to remain competitive in their respective elections for Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District and California State Senate.
Dingell, who is currently a consultant for the American Automobile Policy Council, is running to fill the seat of her retiring husband, John Dingell (COL ’49, LAW ’52), the longest-serving member of Congress in its history. Decisively winning the August Democratic primary election by 40 points in a predominantly blue district, which spans from Detroit’s western suburbs to Ann Arbor, Dingell is heavily favored in the upcoming midterm against Republican challenger Terry Bowman. According to Roll Call, almost one in six of all women who have ever served in Congress succeeded their deceased partners. If elected, however, she would be the only woman to serve in Congress ever to succeed a husband who retired or resigned.
In a statement to The Hoya, Dingell credited her education and the community at Georgetown with guiding her along the campaign trail.
“I have stayed very close to the Georgetown community since my college days, participating in projects and attending mass,” she said. “My relationship with Georgetown has provided me with a foundation to continually learn and seek knowledge.”
Troiano, an independent from Milford, Pa., is running to represent Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District in the northeast corner of the state to replace incumbent Republican Tom Marino, who has represented the district since 2010. A Harper Poll released on Tuesday placed Marino’s support at 58 percent, ahead of the 22 percent for Democratic candidate Scott Brion and 10 percent for Troiano.
A former Republican, Troiano explained that he decided to run as an independent in the wake of the government shutdown last October.
“I decided to run for office because we need to fix our broken political system and restore real representation in Washington,” Troiano said. “We will not be able to address any of the major issues we face, including our unsustainable federal budget and national debt, with continued partisan gridlock and special interest corruption.”
Troiano’s campaign, which calls itself citizen-funded, parades the slogan, “America Deserves Better,” particularly highlighting environmental sustainability, fiscal responsibility, economic mobility and political reform as critical issues.
“I am running as an independent candidate and refusing to accept any special interest contributions to my campaign,” Troiano said. “I believe America deserves better than politics as usual.”
If elected, Troiano, who is currently 25 years old, would become the youngest member of Congress, a title that currently belongs to 31-year-old Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.).
“It’s very important for young people to run for office so that our generation has a voice because we are the ones who are going to have to deal with the consequences of the decisions that Congress does or does not make now,” Rachel Vierling, press secretary and policy director for Troiano’s campaign, said. “We need to engage more young people in politics in general. Many are apathetic because they see a broken system with elected officials who aren’t doing what’s in the best interest of our generation, and feel helpless to fix it.”
Troiano nodded to Georgetown’s role in his success.
“My education in government at Georgetown taught me how our governing institutions are supposed to work,” he said. “My proximity to those institutions in Washington, D.C., showed me how they are not working. The gap between both our founders’ design and today’s dysfunction gave me the motivation to get involved sooner rather than later to help try to fix it.”
Known for her advocacy for reproductive and women’s rights, Fluke is running for the 26th District of the California State Senate, which encompasses part of Los Angeles County, including Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. She rose to prominence as a Georgetown Law student in February 2012 when conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” for her testimony before Congress in February 2012 on the importance of birth control coverage in insurance plans, which Georgetown did not at the time provide. Later that year, Fluke spoke at the Democratic National Convention, calling for increased access to contraceptive and for equal pay for women.
Although she finished second, behind fellow Democrat Ben Allen, in the June primary election, Fluke will enter a rematch with Allen in the general election as a part of California’s “jungle primary” elections, which ensure the top two vote-getters in the primary will enter a run off in November.
Despite falling behind in fundraising immediately after the primary, Fluke has seen a recent surge in funds, reporting over $475,000 in contributions last quarter in contrast to Allen’s $300,000. According to a poll taken in September by the Fluke campaign, Fluke holds 41 percent of the vote, putting her seven percentage points ahead of Allen.
In accordance with her rise to national prominence, Fluke’s campaign has focused on reproductive rights and social equality as issues of focus.
“Sandra has devoted her career to public interest advocacy for numerous social justice causes, such as gender equality, education affordability, LGBTQ rights and workers’ and immigrant rights,” reads Fluke’s campaign website.
Fluke’s campaign declined to comment.
Twenty alumni, including 10 graduates of the Law Center, currently serve as members of Congress with six senators and 14 representatives. Senators John Barrasso (CAS ’74, MED ’78), a Wyoming Republican, and Richard Durbin (SFS ’66, LAW ’69), an Illinois Democrat, will both run for re-election this year, as well as the 14 members of the House.
Elections for the House of Representatives, as well as the California State Senate, will be held Tuesday, Nov. 4.