U.S. Rep. Scott Perry
U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (http://perry.house.gov)

Halfway through the 2-year term to which he was elected, U.S. Representative Scott Perry on Thursday announced plans to seek a second term in Congress in the May primary. He is thus far unopposed.

The 51-year-old Dillsburg conservative, who took seat in the 4th Congressional District in January 2013, has spent his first year focused on reducing the national debt, reducing spending, pushing for a balanced budget amendment, and opposing the Affordable Health Care Act.

Perry served in the state House from Jan. 2, 2007 until after the 2012 election in which he was elected to Congress, and he remains a colonel in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

Perry said it's hard to make a lot of progress as a freshman in Congress, but he's proud of two pieces of legislation that moved from the House his first year. One was a bill to preserve a historic train station in Gettysburg, and the other an amendment to a bill to protect diplomats serving overseas.

If re-elected, Perry said he would "continue to represent the mind-set that we're spending too much money," focusing on reducing the national debt and deficit. Reforming the Affordable Health Care Act and reducing regulation would also be priorities, he said.

Competition: Perry beat a crowded field of Republican contenders who lined up for the 2012 primary after 12-year incumbent Todd Platts announced he was honoring a self-imposed term limit.

Perry said he supports term limits legislation, but he doesn't have a self-imposed limit in mind. Under the current seniority-based system, resigning after a certain number of terms could hold a legislator back from getting a chairmanship under which they would have more influence.

In the 2012 general election, Perry handily defeated Democratic challenger Harry Perkinson, an engineer from York Township, with 155,339 votes to Perkinson's 92,239.

Perkinson said Thursday he isn't currently expecting to make another run at the seat. Ken Lee, a Cumberland County Democratic who lost to Perkinson in the 2012 primary, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The 4th includes York, Cumberland, Dauphin and Adams counties.

Roger Lund, who heads the Adams County Democratic Committee, said there will be a Democratic challenger to Perry, but that person has not yet announced candidacy.

"I think that Scott Perry has aligned himself with the tea party movement in Congress and has shown he's on the extreme of the Republican Party," Lund said. "He won't be taken out of the Republican primary, so I think our candidate will appeal not only to the Democratic base but also those Republicans who see Perry as simply too extreme."

Democratic party officials have said that the redistricting that created the 4th, previously the 19th Congressional District, in 2012 added about 40,000 Democrats and gave Democrats a chance to believe a win was possible.

York County Republican party chair Bob Wilson said he's unaware of any Republicans who plan to run against Perry in the primary.

— Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.