While retiring U.S. Rep. Todd Platts, R-York County, doesn't plan to endorse a candidate for his seat in the 4th Congressional District, the incumbent said he is willing to comment on their qualifications.
Platts said Thursday morning there are four candidates he considers "most qualified and worthy of the trust that goes with this office and the trust of the people."
He listed the men alphabetically to avoid the appearance of ranking: loan officer Kevin Downs, state Rep. Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg, attorney Sean Summers and Hershey Co. senior project manager Mark Swomley.
Platts praised Downs for his business and financial experience. He said Perry, a colonel in the Pennsylvania National Guard, is qualified because of his military experience, including leading troops in combat, as well as his small business background and state legislative experience.
Platts praised Summers for his legal experience and military service, and Swomley for his business background and volunteer work with the Boy Scouts, the organization through which Platts met him.
Omitted from the list are Eric Martin, who's on leave from a job selling cell phones, York County Commissioner Chris Reilly, Baltimore police officer Ted Waga, and the two Democratic candidates, attorney Ken Lee and Harry Perkinson, an engineering manager at a small business that performs research and development for the Department of Defense.
Reilly, who polls have shown is a leader in the race, lost to Platts in the 2000 primary.
Platts declined to say why Reilly and others didn't make his list.
"My approach is to speak in a positive way about strengths and those I feel are well-qualified and understand the trust that goes with that office. ... It's always to speak for somebody, not to critique or speak negatively against somebody," he said.
Platts said he won't highlight one candidate for endorsement because an endorsement from the incumbent gives an unfair advantage. He's self-imposing a 12-year term-limit to "level the field" for competition, he said.
- Reach Christina Kauffman at 505-5436.