Thompson, left, Perry
Thompson, left, Perry

Former Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson says she's planning a challenge to Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Perry for his seat in Congress.

Thompson, a Democrat, said Saturday she is circulating petitions to get on the ballot in the 4th Congressional District.

The deadline to submit petitions is March 11 to run in the May 20 primary.

Roger Lund, president of the South Central Caucus of the Pa. Democratic Party and chairman of the Adams County Democratic Committee, said Thompson is a prime candidate to run against the incumbent Perry.

Lund said no other Democrats have as yet announced that they will run for the seat.

As mayor: Calling her a "fiscal conservative," Lund said Thompson was a key component in working to avert bankruptcy for the capital city.

"She put everything she had into it to make sure that bankruptcy did not happen," he said. "She was dealt a terrible hand and steamed her way through it."

The state and Harrisburg officials announced last week the end of the city's financial emergency.

Her term as mayor was, however, not without controversy and a political gaffe.

During a press conference about privatizing Harrisburg's waste collection last year, Thompson said: "We're not opening up our flood gates for some scumbag that comes from Perry County who ... comes here and wants to dump for free."

But Lund said he's excited for voters to meet Thompson and see she's not the same Thompson who was reported in the media.

"I look forward for people to get to know her," he said.

Thompson was beaten in last year's primary after serving one term as mayor. She could not be reached for comment Sunday night.

Congressman: Perry, a former state House representative, is in his first term after succeeding the retiring Rep. Todd Platts in 2012.

The 51-year-old Dillsburg conservative served in the state House from Jan. 2, 2007, until after the 2012 election in which he was elected to Congress. He remains a colonel in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

The district includes all of York and Adams counties and parts of Dauphin and Cumberland counties. It leans Republican, with about 209,000 registered Republican voters, about 166,000 registered Democrats and about 66,000 others, according to figures from the state elections bureau. The last Democrat elected in the district left office in 1967.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.