The race for Pennsylvania’s 4th District seat heats up Oct. 4 when Democratic nominee Madeleine Dean debates Republican counterpart Dan David at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park.
Dean has served in the state House of Representatives, representing District 153, since 2012, when she won a special election. David is the co-founder of GeoInvesting, an investment management and research firm.
David ran unopposed in the Republican primary in the redrawn district, which includes much of Montgomery County, where Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton got 58.7 percent of the vote, according to Politico.com, in the 2016 presidential election.
“The Republican party, they understand that I’m a disruptor—that I am here to effect change,” David said.
In a late-July interview, David mentioned that several prominent Republicans refuse to speak to him and do not support him: “Have you noticed any endorsements?”
Before running for office, David gained some popularity for starring in the documentary The China Hustle. The film, which was produced by Oscar-winner Alex Gibney and Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire Mark Cuban, documents David’s efforts to uncover scams carried out by Chinese companies to steal millions of dollars from United States investors.
“You know, it’s not illegal in China to steal from an American citizen. It’s not against the law,” David said. “My company has had over a dozen China-based companies kicked off our exchanges. New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq. We’ve exposed $15 billion in fraud, just our company.
“That is direct money out of pensions, 401(k)s, retirements and savings that come from the average American citizen, and that’s what I lobbied Congress for three years with my own money. And the only bipartisan thing they did in those three years is ignore me.”
David categorizes himself as a fiscal conservative, but was hardly a fan of President Donald Trump’s tax plan.
“It added to our debt. And it’s based on trickle-down economics,” David said. “What trickle-down economics has taught me over the years is it’s an economic system that’s based on hope. And it hopes for the best over the long term. … Whenever I hope for the best, I plan for the worst.”
David deflected when asked how being a member of Trump’s party has impacted his campaigning, instead offering the observation that Dean is “running against the president.”
Dean hasn’t been shy about her distaste of Trump and what she referred to as a “historically bad administration.” Dean has formed relationships with candidates Susan Ellis Wild, Mary Gay Scanlon and Chrissy Houlahan, who are all running for the House from Pennsylvania, and the group has dubbed itself the “Fab 4.”
Last night the Fab 4 became the Fab 5! Thank you to @SenWarren for coming to support the Fab Four – @wildforcongress, @marygayscanlon, @HoulahanForPa, and myself. Finally, thank you to Lauren Hart & Todd Carmichael for hosting at the wonderful La Colombe!#Mad4PA #PA4 #PA04 pic.twitter.com/bzn6C2WVR9
— Madeleine Dean (@mad4pa) September 24, 2018
“We need to bring people who will change the conversation and stand up to this administration and its bullying and its chaos, and just be public servants who believe in doing the right thing,” Dean said.
Dean campaigned with Clinton in 2016, and it was the devastation Dean felt after Trump’s election that spurred her to pursue more political responsibility.
If elected, Dean said, she would make sure her voice is heard. She’s had that mindset since her early days as a freshman legislator in the Pennsylvania House. She recalled that, after speaking against a payday lending bill, she was chided by a senior member of the House. “You don’t understand; freshman don’t speak,” she was told.
Dean bristled at the unspoken rule and continued to vocalize her beliefs when she deemed it necessary. “That’s my style,” she said.
The importance of this election season is not lost on Dean, who is eager to flip the Republican-controlled House to a Democratic majority. The seat in question has been occupied by Republican Scott Perry since 2013, but with the new redistricted maps, Perry is running in the 10th District against Democrat George Scott.
At the KI debate, both candidates will have the opportunity to explain their positions, but there’s one topic they’ll likely agree on: the Middle East. David and Dean are both pro-Israel.
“I believe that our policy should be Israel’s sovereignty is tied to our sovereignty,” said David. “If you threaten Israel’s sovereignty, it’s a threat to our sovereignty. When Iran is calling Israel ‘little Satan,’ who do you think they mean when they say ‘big Satan’? We have to stop that kind of rhetoric.”
Dean, for her part, is opposed to the BDS movement. “I oppose any movement to launch financial attacks on Israel,” she said. “It’s wrongheaded. It’s the furthering of very distasteful anti-Semitic strains we see in other countries and around the world.” l