Tom Houghton eyes Congressional challenge against Pitts

Tom Houghton

LONDON GROVE — Former township supervisor and state representative Tom Houghton has not yet announced formally that he will file for the May 20 primary election, but he’s giving it some serious thought.

He is widely being talked about as the probable Democratic challenger in November to Republican Congressman Joe Pitts for the state’s 16th district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Houghton, 45, said to look for an answer sometime next week, say around Jan. 24, 25 or 26.

He has plenty to comment on about the current political climate, however. He said he is fed up with the way Congress is running, and he’s particularly frustrated with Pitts, who has held the seat since 1997.

Speaking of last year’s U.S. government shutdown, which he called “the last straw,” Houghton said, “I’m tired of Republicans who believe that compromise is a synonym for treason.”

He added that many in Congress are carrying on “culture wars” and have little interest in serving the country.

Houghton said he agreed with an editorial he read that mentioned U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-6th, (whom he considers a moderate) would not seek re-election this year. Houghton said the piece said that the “wrong man” is retiring – that it should be Pitts, who is considered to be significantly more conservative.

The 16th District covers far western portions of Chester County, part of Berks County (including Reading), and all of Lancaster County. In the 2012 election, Pitts carried Lancaster, lost Berks and won by less than 1,000 votes in Chester County.

Houghton said the Democratic committees in all three counties have expressed support of his possible candidacy in the May primary.

When he was asked if he is withholding an announcement because he is not sure of political or financial resources, he said running again for office is something he needs time to discuss it with his family.

Houghton was elected to the London Grove Board of Supervisors in 2002 and served as chairman for several years. He then ran against state Rep. Art Hershey for the state’s 13th District in the House of Representatives, losing by less than 2,000 votes.

In 2008 he was elected to the state House of Representatives, defeating Republican John Lawrence. In 2010, however, Lawrence won the seat.

While Houghton was in the state House, he was on the Agricultural and Rural Affairs committees, the Joint Legislative Government Committee, the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and the Conservation Committee.

He is an attorney with an office in West Grove.

About the Author

Chris Barber

Chris Barber is the editor of the Avon Grove Sun. She was previously southern bureau chief of the Daily Local News and editor of the Kennett Paper, earning honors in writing and photography. Reach the author at agsun@kennettpaper.com .