Congressional Candidates: Scanlon and Galluch

Cate McCusker, Senior Editor

Villanova resides in Pennsylvania’s fifth congressional district, which encompasses all of Delaware County, some of Chester County, a small portion of southern Montgomery County and a section of southern Philadelphia. 

Currently, this district is represented by Democratic Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon. In the upcoming midterm election, Scanlon is challenged by Republican candidate Dave Galluch.

The Villanovan was able to sit down (virtually) with both candidates to discuss their goals, thoughts on key issues and more.

The incumbent Congresswoman Scanlon was originally sworn into Congress in November of 2018 following a special election, and she has worked to represent the district since. Prior to her time in office, Scanlon previously worked as national pro bono counsel at a major U.S. law firm. 

Galluch was raised by a single mother after his father was killed by a drunk driver before he was born. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 2012, and he was deployed twice, once to the Middle East and once to Somalia. Galluch left the Navy in 2019 and began working for the Comcast Corporation in Strategic Development & Growth. Now, at 33 years old, Galluch has turned to politics.


Why they’re running:


“Basically the last half of 2020 was a pretty formative experience for me. I had left the Navy to work at Comcast doing strategic development, but just, you know, the rioting, the looting, the disavowal, the time honored traditions, the leadership in this country and just a lot of the stuff I was seeing in the summer in the fall of 2020. Just people being driven apart, turned against each other families. Families being ripped apart by political differences. It just didn’t square with what I served for, what my friends served for, what some of my friends who didn’t come home or came home bearing the scars of their service. On deployment. It’s not about Team Red or Team Blue. It’s about solving problems. And that’s what we should be doing in Washington. Yes, we all have our own ideological beliefs. We all have our own value sets, but everyone’s moral compass should be pointing in the same direction if you’re in Congress, and unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the case anymore. And we’re always gonna have disagreements but we have to get back to a point where we can actually arbitrate our, you know, contentious disputes amicably and civilly and diplomatically.”


“I decided to run for election because so many of the issues I’ve been working on for my entire adult life were on the line. That includes elections and voting rights, it includes immigration, it includes children and families, kids having a good start and having access to good public schools. All of those things were on the line four years ago, and we’ve made some progress in some of them. We’ve been able to do between the American Rescue plan and the infrastructure bill and the chips bill, and the very mild, but still necessary gun safety legislation we passed this summer, and then the Inflation Reduction Act, we’ve been able to make huge investments in public safety, community violence interruption, baseline support for families.

“Things like mail-in voting, um, and other things to make it easier to vote. They’re trying to roll those things back because of the MAGA Trump influences questioning the underpinnings of our elections. So a lot of that is on the ballot this year, both with what’s going on in the statewide races and the platform that’s been rolled out by the National Republican Party. So very much engaged in wanting to continue to protect our democracy.

“Other fundamental rights are on the ballot now, which, you know, a year ago we didn’t know that the Roe v Wade decision would be overturned, and that brings a whole new level of urgency to the work that I’m doing and that we’re doing. So lots of things I’ve been engaged with for a long time and just wanting to continue to fight for those causes.”


Goals if elected:


“I would say economy jobs and cost of living is number one. We’ve knocked on 40,000 doors as a campaign directly, and nine out of 10 doors we talked about gas prices, or how much food costs. For me that’s near and dear to my heart. I come from a working family. I was raised by a single mom. My dad was killed by a drunk driver before I was born. So, I know how hard working families have to work just to keep their head above water.”

“Another one that’s big for me would be crime. Obviously, we live next to the city where we’re unfortunately infamous in the United States now. We have a DA in Philadelphia who has said, quote, I don’t believe that arresting people and convicting them for illegal gun possession is a viable strategy to reduce shootings. I don’t know on what planet that makes sense….you have to enforce the laws on the books, there has to be accountability for law breakers, but you also need to invest in communities. If we’re doing both of those things, I think we’re setting us on a path of success.”

“I’d say inflation and crime are the primary two. But just opportunities for young people to get good paying jobs, open businesses, and have the same sort of choices that our parents had and our grandparents had. I think that that’s really important too.” 


“It continues to be protecting our elections, protecting fundamental rights, whether it’s to vote or whether it’s for a woman to make the right reproductive health choices for herself and her family. When you’re in Congress, you have the opportunity to really impact the lives of folks in your community, so I’ve been working a lot on issues of economic development for this region. Things have shifted from straight up manufacturing to a lot more life sciences and 21st century economy. So, how do you make those transitions and make sure that the people who live here are prepared to take those jobs? So a lot in that arena. 

“Gun violence is clearly an issue across the country, but it’s been a particular issue in our region, and it’s impacting everyone. I got carjacked right before Christmas last year. It’s the easy availability of guns as well as the fact that, we see that the driving forces are usually poverty, lack of opportunity, hopelessness. So, you know, the economic issues that I’m working on, actually head towards gun violence prevention, so those are huge issues for our region and issues I want to keep working on.”




“I think I offer a more bipartisan and common sense approach on the issues. Congresswoman Scanlon has voted with Congresswoman Ocasio Cortez 96% of the time, Ilhan Omar 96% of the time. They are out of the mainstream. I don’t want to approach politics with my own ideology. I want to vote with the district and be representative for the people. Delaware County for the most part is and has been and will remain sort of a moderate a moderate county, and I just don’t believe Congresswoman Scanlon has been a moderate voice on the issues. I want to turn the temperature down and I want to let the viewpoints of PA five govern what I do in Congress because that’s what you do when you’re in Congress. You know, people don’t work for you, you work for people, and I think that’s that’s just a fundamental difference in how Congresswoman Scanlon and I view how to approach politics policymaking and the sort of track record one would cultivate in Congress”


“I’ve worked with both sides. I’ve worked with people across the political spectrum for my entire political career and my entire legal career. My political career is only about four years long, and it’s been a really unusual time because of the hyper politicization. The idea that you work in a bipartisan manner presumes that the other side is willing to come to the table, and that’s one of the issues that we have right now. Leadership in the Republican party at the national level has explicitly declared that they don’t want work across the table, and we’ve seen that with everything from the Inflation Reduction Act to the American Rescue Plan, good bills that have provided necessary services to the American people that our Republican colleagues have voted unanimously or nearly unanimously against, but then claimed credit for the results when they go home to their district.

“I have introduced and passed bipartisan bills in Congress. I have worked in a bipartisan manner on our school board, but it does presume that there’s a willingness to work on the other side. It makes it difficult to work across the aisle, but with that being said, when you’re dealing with our kids going hungry, then I’m gonna work with anyone who’s willing to solve that problem. If we’re dealing with, how do we do a better job at reducing gun violence, I’m gonna work with anyone who’s willing to seriously address that problem as opposed to just saying, ‘I need to be tougher on crime,’ because that doesn’t accomplish anything.”


Abortion and reproductive rights


“I stand with the vast majority of people in supporting exceptions. I stand with the vast majority of folks who support common sense limitations on abortions, and the vast majority of Americans believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare up until that point and by exception after that. From my perspective, as a federal candidate, it’s not a federal issue. It’s a state issue. I plan on taking no vote when it comes to changing abortion laws in the United States at the federal level…but I’m certainly not for a total abortion ban.”


“We were out there last week talking with some of the young Dems and, and they were saying that the Roe v Wade issue is top of mind. I think it is for a lot of people across the district. I’m not afraid to say I’m a Democrat. I’m supporting those policies, and I’m proud to do it.”


Gun laws


“I think that before we talk about the new laws we need, we actually have to start fully enforcing the ones we already have. Unfortunately, the laws are not being enforced, and they’re primarily not being enforced in our big cities. When they’re not enforced in the big cities and lawlessness starts, it moves out and that’s exactly what’s happening. So, I think to accurately assess what new laws we need, we actually have to fully enforce the ones we have. I’m always willing to engage in conversations with people. I don’t want to approach problems from a purely ideological perspective, but to me, it doesn’t make sense to talk about new gun laws if the DA already said he’s not going to convict people for those who break the gun laws.”


“Yes, we have a Second Amendment, and that was premised upon responsible gun ownership. I think the term well regulated militia, it is part of the Second Amendment. It doesn’t mean that every person can own a gun with no regulation, with no experience or owning any kind of weapon. I voted just in the last month or so to reinstate the assault weapons ban. We shouldn’t have weapons of war freely available and on our streets, but by the same token, we need to make sure that when people do own a gun, that it’s carefully secured that it’s not available to everyone. That’s why we’re seeing a lot of the problems that we are basically having over the last several decades. The NRA, and largely with the support of the Republican Party, have given a free license to gun manufacturers to flood the country with weapons…it’s not about taking people’s guns away, it’s about making sure that we have responsible gun ownership and that our law enforcement have the resources they need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and keep weapons of war off the street, that way everyone’s safer.”


Election integrity


“I would say election integrity, that’s another one that the constitution prescribes the management of the elections in individual states to the federal government…I think there are common sense things we could do. I think it should be easy to vote. It has to be easy to vote. I fought in the military, I defended our institutions, defended the right to vote, defended elections. Full stop, it has to be easy to vote. It should be hard to cheat. I think there are things we could do that most people agree with. For example, 80 to 90% agree with voter ID. You know, I understand there might be folks in some communities that it might be hard for them to get an ID, and the easier problem to solve is let’s find a way for them to get an ID because they should need an ID not just a vote but they need an ID for a whole lot of other things in life. If they don’t have an ID, you know, they’re being held back and a whole lot of other ways, so let’s find a way to get folks IDs because it will help them in a vast array of things that they try and do in their life. And another common sense thing that at the state level would make sense would be engaging in cross check programs…I think those are two common sense things most people agree with would make our elections safer, and it wouldn’t restrict anyone’s ability to vote or access to the ballot box. But I see this as a state issue, not a federal issue.” 


“Pennsylvania submitted a slate of fake electors to try to overturn the election. Many of our elected officials and candidates are still refusing to acknowledge that our election was safe and secure, and that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were elected as president and vice president. They’re trying to roll back changes that were made to Pennsylvania’s election laws in 2019 that were actually proposed by and approved by a Republican legislature.

“Having been in DC on January 6, having been in my office across the street from the Capitol, walking through the doors to vote on the floor every day where people smashed in the doors and tried to stop the legitimate certification of an election where someone died, actually trying to break into the capital where my colleagues, 139 members of the House Republican Caucus, voted against certifying electoral votes, including eight members from the Pennsylvania delegation who objected to certification of ballots that they had been sworn in on for their own elections only three days before.

“I’m worried about a situation where despite all the evidence that our elections were fair that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were elected, that we have Republicans who will not affirm that that election was accurate, who continue to either spout lies about the results of those elections, or just by their silence, are complicit in allowing those lies to fester and undermine confidence in our democracy.”


What they would say to Villanova students who are on the fence right now:


“The number one thing that I will always bring to serving everyone is an open mind. I want people to have access to me. I pride myself on the fact that I’ve gone to every corner of Pennsylvania five and back. When I go places, we don’t go into pre-prepared photo-ops. I go into bars, I go into restaurants, I just walk down the street in places like Chester and Upper Darby, and I just talk to people. I want to be accessible, I want to actually understand what people want, and I want to vote the district. Folks may not always agree 100% with what I do, but I don’t want to be an ideological voice. I want to be a pragmatic voice. I just want to solve problems. We have a lot at stake in this country. A lot of issues that cut across party lines and I don’t think that we can continue with business as usual. Party loyalty, party ideology, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s a bad thing, but we need new voices and new generations need to step up. I’m 33 years old and there aren’t a lot of folks of our generation in politics yet, but I think it’s important that our generation has a seat at the table, that our voices are heard, and I want to be a voice for everyone, Democrat, Republican, Independent, it doesn’t matter.”


“I’m working every day to protect some pretty fundamental rights around voting access, particularly for students, because our Republican colleagues are trying to restrict access to voting, particularly by students and young people. I’m working to protect other fundamental rights, including privacy rights to abortion, reproductive healthcare, same sex, marriage, contraception, all those are on the line with this recent Supreme Court decision. I’ve lived a career and, and being in Congress is just an extension of the work that I’ve done for the last 30 years to provide opportunity and equity and access, focusing on folks who are least likely to have a seat at the table, whether that’s kids, women, immigrants, or underserved communities. Congress is not a career move. It’s simply an opportunity to continue doing work that I’ve done for over 30 years.”