Pa. Rep. Perry moves up a list of Congress’ most endangered incumbents | Wednesday Morning Coffee

May 6, 2020 7:16 am

House Homeland Security Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Scott Perry makes opening remarks during a hearing on “critical canine contributions to the DHS mission’” in Washington, D.C., May 18, 2017. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Photo by Glenn Fawcett

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District remains one of the nation’s most-endangered Congressional incumbents, finishing in ninth place on Roll Call’s new list of the Top 10 Most Vulnerable lawmakers.

It’s a move up the list for the York County pol, who was in 10th place in the last Roll Call rankings list last November. President Donald Trump carried the seat by 9 points in 2016.

More astute readers will recall that Perry, a former state House member, narrowly won re-election in 2018 against pastor and veteran George Scott by a significantly smaller 3 points in a seat redrawn by the state Supreme Court. Democrats believe he’s equally endangered in the new(ish) district this year.

“Democrats believe Perry, a member of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus, no longer fits his new district,” Roll Call notes in its sketch of the race.

They’re not wrong. The suburbs of Dauphin and Cumberland counties, long dependable GOP strongholds, have trended more purple to blue in recent years.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, background, listens to Hershey attorney Tom Brier, foreground, answer a question at a forum at Widener Law School in Harrisburg on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

Of course, there’s the small matter of the Democratic primary, which pits two-term state auditor general — and Perry’s fellow York Countian — Eugene DePasquale against attorney Tom Brier, of Derry Township, Dauphin County.

As Roll Call correctly notes, DePasquale has been racking up establishment Democratic support in his bid for the nomination.

Congressman Scott Perry’s brand of extreme, ineffective politics is out-of-step with this district. That couldn’t stand in clearer contrast to Eugene DePasquale who has used his career to root out corruption and fight on behalf of working families in Pennsylvania,” Courtney Rice, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the political wing of U.S. House Democrats, said in an email.

Despite that support, DePasquale had $657,000 in his campaign coffers at the end of the first quarter compared to Perry’s $815,000, which means the Democratic hopeful has some ground to make up. And it’s hard to count out Brier, whose fund-raising faded after an initial burst, but who remains an energetic presence on the trail.

For the trainspotters: Both the nonpartisan Cook Political Report and Politico have rated the seat as a “Toss Up.”

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
Staff Reporters Stephen Caruso and Elizabeth Hardison 
go deep on the Legislature’s push to get the Wolf administration to be more transparent in its management of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Big Question, of course, how will Gov. Tom Wolf respond to the bill forcing him to comply with the state’s Open Records law when it lands on his desk?

The University of Washington’s updated projected COVID-19 death count for Pa. shows the risk of reopening the state too fast, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Tuesday. Your humble newsletter author has the story.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has joined with fellow Senate Dems to warn President Donald Trump that his order to keep meat plants open imperils workers, Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender reports.

From our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune: Veteran Republican operative Renee Amoore, of Montgomery County, has died, aged 67.  And Philly schools counselors are continuing to help students learn remotely.

On our Commentary Page, it’s a day for the opinion regulars. Ray E. Landis stresses the importance of making sure programs for vulnerable seniors are fully funded in the 2020-21 budget. And Fletcher McClellan, getting a major assist from Elizabethtown College alumna Janel Myerslooks at the state’s massive challenge at closing the digital divide for Pennsylvania’s public school students.

Pa. Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine briefs the press on Saturday, 4/25/20

Despite giving them the green light, the state won’t provide masks, gloves, or other personal protective equipment to hospitals if they resume elective surgeries, Spotlight PA reports.
Thanks to a push from gas drillers, the federal government has expanded a “Main Street” loan program to other big businesses, the Post-Gazette reports.
Not every Pennsylvania school student is taking online classes during lockdownPennLive looks at what’s happened with them.
The family of a Lehigh Valley man who contracted the coronavirus while on a cruise has sued the cruise line, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

Mandatory testing is unlikely in Philly in the immediate future, WHYY-FM reports.
The Salvation Army has expanded its food distribution operations in NEPA, the Citizens-Voice reports.
In seven weeks, the state has paid out $5.34 billion in unemployment benefits — or three times the amount it paid out for all of 2019, the Observer-Reporter reports.
U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District, has a ‘massive’ fundraising advantage in his re-election race, PoliticsPa reports.
With urban outbreaks on the decline, rural infections of COVID-19 have started to spikeTalking Points Memo reports.

What Goes On.
The House is in non-voting session today. Here’s a look at the (virtual) committee action.

In the House:
Room 140  Main Capitol, Call of Chair

In the Senate:

    Senate Chamber  (LIVE STREAMED), 10 a.m.
    (LIVE STREAMED) 12 p.m

Time TBD: Daily COVID-19 briefing.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Brittany Crampsie, in the office of Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, and reader Aja Beech, of Philadelphia, both of whom also celebrate today. Congratulations and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s one from Bakar. Its ‘Hell N Back.’ It’s a seriously tropical vibe. Here’s hoping the weather cooperates.

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link. 
talked with Yankees manager Aaron Boone about the preparations his team is making for the eventual resumption of the 2020 season.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.