As a highly competitive race for the 4th Congressional District took shape, two men were the most visible candidates in a field of seven Republicans.
And though state Rep. Scott Perry and York County Commissioner Chris Reilly were polling closely and their views on issues were similar, Perry handily defeated Reilly by a margin that defied both polling and political spending.
In York County alone, Perry received more than twice as many votes as Reilly, his closest competitor. Perry garnered support from 48 percent of York County Republicans who participated in Tuesday's primary for 19,837 votes. Reilly got 8,328 votes in the county, or 20 percent.
Districtwide, Perry got 34,829 votes, compared to Reilly's 12,103 votes.
Perry, hoarse from a cold, addressed a crowded ballroom at the Holiday Inn Holidome in West Manchester Township to deliver his victory speech.
Earlier in the evening, supporters - including several incumbent Republican legislators - gathered there and expressed surprise about election results that were better than expected.
Perry thanked "God almighty," his wife, his mother, the voters, and his campaign volunteers for running a successful race in the face of adversity.
"We are outspent two-to-one. Two-to-one, OK," he said. "Maybe 'out-signed' on a couple of occasions. We were 'out' a lot of things, but we weren't out-worked.
"Nobody had bigger vision than all of us, and no one worked harder and at the end of the day, I think the voters realized that because you went out and told them. And that's what this is about. Hard work. Perseverance for the right reasons. For the right reasons. And that's what won this."
Reilly concedes: Tuesday night was the second time Reilly lost a bid for the congressional seat.
The seat is open for the first time in 12 years ago, with incumbent Todd Platts, R-York County, opting not to seek election because of a self-imposed term limit.
Reilly ran unsuccessfully in the
With his concession call to Perry made, Reilly said he'll fully support his one-time opponent in November's general election.
"My number one priority going forward is making sure Scott Perry gets elected in November," he said. "Scott Perry is going to be an outstanding congressman for the 4th District."
Going into the primary campaign season, Reilly said he knew Perry was "a very formidable opponent."
York attorney Sean Summers, the third-highest vote-getter, declined Tuesday night to share his feelings toward his top two opponents, saying he'll speak to them in private.
Platts responds: Platts recently said there were four candidates, including Perry, he
Reilly was left off the list but said that didn't hurt him in the election.
"When it comes down to it, endorsements don't really matter. People look at records," Reilly said.
Reilly had one big-name endorsement, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and thousands in campaign donations from Toomey's political action committee.
Perry enjoyed Gov. Tom Corbett's endorsement, as well as nods from the entire incumbent York County delegation - his colleagues in the state House.
Platts congratulated Perry by phone Tuesday night, the first election in 22 years - including his time in the State House - in which he wasn't on the ballot.
He congratulated Perry on a well-run campaign, saying he and volunteers knocked on a lot of doors and did a lot of hard work. He said he's confident Perry will do well in the fall and will "do a great job" as a U.S. congressman.
Perry will face York Township Democrat Harry Perkinson in November.
Platts said he also has a lot of respect for the other candidates.
"Running for public office is not easy ... and I appreciate their willingness to get in the ring," he said.
Voter turnout: The number of registered voters who turned out at the polls was slightly higher than the 20 percent the county's top election official predicted last week.
Total turnout was 57,829, or 24.97 percent. A higher percentage of Republicans voted, with 42,427, or 32.1 percent, turning out. The Democrats showed up at the polls at a rate of 15.5 percent, with 15,402 voters, according to York County Department of Elections and Voter Registration.
In the 2008 presidential primary, then-Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were dueling and Republican John McCain enjoyed a considerable lead. More Democrats turned out, 22 percent, than Republicans, 13 percent.
In the presidential primary of 2004, during which George Bush was unopposed and Democratic candidate John Kerry had a considerable lead, 18 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of Republicans turned out.
- Reach Christina Kauffman at 505-5436, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter at @YDYorkCounty.