Wall Street Journal: Rich Candidates Square Off in Democratic Party Primaries

By Reid J. Epstein on The Wall Street Journal

Scott Wallace, whose grandfather was President Franklin Roosevelt’s third-term vice president, is running for Congress to represent his childhood home in the Philadelphia suburbs of Bucks County after living outside the district for nearly 40 years.

Mr. Wallace in 2016 wrote an online column with the headline “Why I Am A Patriotic Millionaire” that featured a photo of himself and his wife on a boat in Antarctica. Until last year he was registered to vote in Maryland, though his voter card directed absentee ballots to be mailed to his home in Cape Town, South Africa, where he ran the family’s foundation, the Wallace Global Fund. Mr. Wallace said he last cast a vote in the congressional district he now seeks to represent in 1978.

Mr. Wallace, 66 years old, said his family’s wealth hasn’t left him disconnected from middle-class constituents.

“I have lived a blue-collar life…I inherited money much later,” Mr. Wallace said of his youth. “I’ve had the ordinary jobs that regular people do” like waiting tables, pumping gas and working as a carpenter’s assistant.

His opponent in the Democratic primary to take on first-term GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick is Rachel Reddick, a 33-year-old Navy veteran who has served as a legal advocate for local domestic violence victims. She said she has a better understanding than Mr. Wallace of the anxieties middle-class people face.

Ms. Reddick earned $55,911 as a Navy lieutenant in 2017 and has between $100,000 and $250,000 in law-school debt, according to her federal financial disclosure report. Mr. Wallace has yet to file his financial disclosure report.

“I know what it’s like to look at my student loan balance and feel anxiety, I don’t know that he’s ever felt that,” Ms. Reddick said. “I think it all comes down to the personal experiences that you’ve had.”

Mr. Wallace, who pledged to match contributions made by people from the congressional district, said that isn’t true. “I categorically reject the silver-spoon accusations,” he said.

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