Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is telling fellow Democrats that he’s going to run for Congress in a Harrisburg-area district that’s in Republican hands, two Democratic Party figures told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
DePasquale told them and others that he is planning to announce his candidacy in July, according to the two party figures, who spoke on condition of anonymity because DePasquale has not made his formal announcement yet.
Asked about it Tuesday, DePasquale declined to discuss it, saying only that he will talk about it soon.
The seat is held by four-term Republican Rep. Scott Perry.
The district, which includes the cities of Harrisburg and York, has roughly 25,000 more registered Republican voters than Democrats. Perry won re-election in November over first-time candidate George Scott by under 3 percentage points, giving Democrats hope that they can beat Perry in 2020.
At least one Democrat so far, Tom Brier, has announced his candidacy for the nomination to challenge Perry.
Perry, an Iraq war veteran, owns the most conservative voting record in Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, according to American Conservative Union ratings, and has among the most conservative voting records in the House.
DePasquale, 47, is in his second four-year term as Pennsylvania’s independently elected fiscal watchdog. DePasquale’s term runs through 2020, and he is constitutionally barred from serving another term. In his two statewide races, he won by modest margins — 3 percentage points in 2012 and 5 percentage points in 2016 — in relatively low-profile races.
DePasquale also has political bloodlines: he is the son of the late former president of Pittsburgh’s city council, Eugene “Jeep” DePasquale.
Both Perry and DePasquale each served in the state House of Representatives together for six years before running for their current offices, and both live in York County, in the southern part of the district.
Pennsylvania’s 18-seat congressional delegation is currently split between Republicans and Democrats after Democrats picked up four seats last year.