U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, who’s facing serious corruption charges and whose wife is no longer employed by NBC10, was ousted in Democratic primary.
Though Mr. Donald Trump, who was billed by pundits as a fringe candidate whose appeal with voters would eventually evaporate, won all five states last night to the dismay of many of those in the #NeverTrump movement, his story of sweeping victory could, when compared to the defeat of U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, seem less newsworthy.
The narrative of the ousted Congressman, which appeared this morning on the Washington Post among other places, is dominant in the minds of many due to its weight and, too, the controversy and misfortune surrounding Mr. Fattah, who hasn’t lost a race or even had a primarily challenger since 1994 but this year, after being indicted on 29 charges of various corruption, faced stiff competition.
And more so for Philadelphians, who are, for now, the constituents of Mr. Fattah, yesterday’s defeat in the primary marks the end of a First-Family type era: Mrs. Renee Chenault-Fattah is no longer a news anchor at the Philadelphia NBC affiliate where she spent more than two decades due, at least in part, to the criminality alleged against her husband, and the junior Fattah, once a high-roller Center City dweller, is serving a five year bid in Federal prison. Once perceived as power-brokers, and a family of prestige, the Fattahs now have to grapple with diminishing influence and image.
But, in observing the Fattahs, the elder sir in particular, it would seem as if none of the aforementioned is true. The Fattahs were at City Hall at the tail end of March to celebrate jazz impresario Mr. Christian McBride receiving an award from the City: they posed for pictures and shook hands with fans.
And last week, Mr. Fattah was front-row at an invite-only event with Mrs. Hillary Clinton, where I noticed him, standing adjacent to a fan, smiling brightly for a selfie.
A few people I talked to about the Philadelphia Congressman, born Arthur Davenport, found his continuous embracing of celebrity, despite current woes, strange. Also noticeable was how confident Mr. Fattah was about both being re-elected and eventually cleared of wrong-doing. His self-assurance virtually mirrored that of his son, who was order directly to prison following his criminal trial, wherein he defended himself due to his inability to afford legal representation.
The past circumstances of the junior Fattah, who went by the nickname Chip, mirror the current circumstances of the senior: Mr. Fattah in January was unable to pay his lawyers, who then sought to be dismissed from the Congressman’s trial. Amidst all of this Mrs. Chenault-Fattah, who for years was unable to be partisan, launched ‘Women for Fattah,’ an effort to communicate with voters the message that Mr. Fattah has been great for women.
Like her husband, Mrs. Chenault-Fattah was confident that voters would ignore the attempts to smears the Congressman’s good name and send him back to Washington for another term. Normalcy, or in others words, pretending the empire isn’t rapidly crumbling, became the brand of the Fattahs in the wake of legal, employment and money troubles.
But the façade wasn’t enough for voters, and last night, while Mr. Trump and Mrs. Hillary Clinton relished in their big wins, Mr. Fattah, ousted by State Rep. Dwight Evans who is now the Democratic nominee in the 2nd Congressional District, became the first incumbent in 2016 to succumb to defeat.
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