The House of Representatives, the less formal house of Congress, always seems to have races that people decide to not care about for no reason other than they are not located in a suburb of a major city. While Pennsylvania’s 1st district is getting more attention, more people should be paying attention to Pennsylvania’s 10th as the one most likely to flip in this swing state.
The 10th district was among the many districts that were redrawn for 2018 in Pennsylvania that became more Democratic than they were previously. The last 10th district voted for Trump by 21 points, but the new one only voted for Trump by nine points. While Tom Marino held the old 10th, the new one would now be represented by arch-conservative and Freedom Caucus member Scott Perry. Perry was redrawn from the old 4th district, which was perfect for Perry as it held all of strongly Republican York County as well a small sliver of Dauphin County that included some of Harrisburg. However, after the court-enforced redistricting, Perry was suddenly drawn into all of Dauphin County, some of Cumberland and only the northern part of York. Perry was suddenly drawn into a competitive race for the first time in his life. He held up to the challenge in 2018 though, beating a moderate Democrat nominee in Lutheran Pastor George Scott. In 2020, Perry faces a much stronger challenger, one that has statewide credentials.
The (Likely) Candidates
Eugene DePasquale, Pennsylvania’s current state auditor, announced that he would run for this seat in 2020 as he is termed out of his position this upcoming election. DePasquale actually won this district in 2016 and presents a very unique challenge to Perry due to his statewide name recognition and decent donor base lined up. Perry’s shortcomings as a candidate for this district should be pointed out as well. Throughout his time in Congress, Perry has always been an outspoken member of the Freedom Caucus, the most right-wing grouping of representatives. While that profile was a decent fit for his old district, it is certainly not for his current one. The 10th district that he now represents is one filled with suburban voters, the type that sharply rejected the GOP in 2018.
Yet, Perry did survive the 2018 wave election, besting George Scott by nearly 8,000 votes. This comes from winning the still very conservative part of this district, northern York County, by a wide margin and winning the part of Cumberland County in the district by six points while losing Dauphin by eight. Perry has still not made an official announcement on whether he is running for re-election, but no signs have pointed to him retiring in 2020. DePasquale does also have a primary challenger at the moment running to his left in local attorney Tom Brier, who is attempting to use his local roots to drum up grassroots support for his candidacy. If or when Perry announces again he will also have a primary challenger to his right in a local man named Bobbie Jefferies, who states that Perry isn’t sufficiently “Pro-Trump”. Barring any surprises though, DePasquale and Perry will be the candidates on election day 2020.
Why more people should be paying attention
With a proven statewide winner in DePasquale and a poor district fit in Perry, people should start giving attention to this race as one of the best potential Democratic pick-up opportunities rather than Brian Fitzpatrick, a good fit in Pennsylvania’s 1st district. I will be watching this race heavily and potentially working on it as well, and to other politicos across the nation I urge you all to pay attention as well.