State Rep. Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg, is outraising and outspending his competitors in the race for the 4th Congressional District, according to reports due to the Federal Election Commission Monday.
The closest competitor, Democratic candidate Harry Perkinson, said he won't back down from political action committee money and he thinks voters can still pull off a surprise victory in the traditionally red-voting district.
Perry raised $112,180 in contributions for the current reporting period, July 1-Sept. 30. That brings him to $332,301 for the election cycle to-date. Perkinson's camp raised $22,653 for the period and $45,033 for the election cycle.
Political action committees, or PACs, comprised the bulk of the Republican's
Perkinson's donations were mostly smaller individual contributions. He took in $18,377 from individuals and $4,251 from political committees for the period.
Perry's PACs: Attorneys and executives were among those throwing support at Perry, including Glatfelter Insurance Group's Anthony Campisi, who gave $1,000. William H. Pugh, who is the CFO of PinnacleHealth, gave $250, as did the company's president, Michael Young. Perry was also given $500 from Range Resources' vice-president of drilling, Donald K. Robinson.
Perry's PAC contributions include $5,000 from the PAC for Exxon Mobil Corp., $1,000 from NiSource, the parent company of Columbia Gas, $1,000 from Spectra Energy, and $5,000 from the American Medical Association. Perkinson was given $250 from the International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers and $2,500 from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades PAC. He took in $250 from the York County Federation of Democratic Women and $300 from the Democratic Society of York.
Perkinson reacts: Perry also
The money was spent on everything from pizza to media buys, PayPal fees and paper supplies.
His campaign is left with $84,565 cash on hand.
Perkinson spent $27,790 for the period and $61,909 for the election, with expenditures including office supplies and printing materials, campaign signs, a survey and research firm and production of campaign videos.
His cash-on-hand at the end of the reporting period was $9,276.
The Democrat said he realized he hasn't raised or spent an amount necessary to run a modern political campaign, but he's relying on grass roots, endorsements, and low-cost or free publicity.
Perkinson said the PACs supporting Perry are an indication of his opponent's priorities.
"It's pretty obvious what to make of it," he said. "The Republican party supports business entities over individuals and the Democratic party supports individuals."
Perkinson said the average donation to his campaign is about $100. National unions haven't made contributions, he said, in part because they look "at the numbers" to determine the viability of the race in a Republican-favored district.
But Perkinson said he isn't "conceding anything."
"In three weeks, an eternity in elections, anything could happen," he said. "I'm going out and making sure the public knows where I stand and the difference between me and Mr. Perry in particular."
Expert opinion: Political analyst Terry Madonna from Franklin & Marshall College said Perry has a "prodigious fundraising advantage in a district that has been safe Republican for years."
Though the district picked up some Harrisburg Democrats with redistricting, it's not enough to offset the number of Republicans, Madonna said.
"When's the last time a Democrat won a countywide election? Do you have a single row officer who's a Democrat? No. You have a single State House member, Eugene DePasquale."
He said PACs make tactical judgements on how to best spend their money.
"They support incumbents they like or put it in races they think they can win," he said.
Some people might consider it foolish to "waste money" on a Republican who would probably win without the PAC support, he said, but there's an unspoken contract for a future audience.
"PACS are buying access to a guy who they think they will win," Madonna said. "If he wins, you want the phone calls returned and the meetings. They want to be sure he understands and acknowledges the fact that they gave him money."
While retiring incumbent Rep. Todd Platts, R-York County, was noted for not accepting PAC money, Perry hasn't taken such a stand and also accepted PAC money as a state representative.
Perry said he's happy to be ahead in the dollar race and sees the support as an indication that people believe in his campaign.
He dismissed Perkinson's assertion about priorities, saying the PACs and large organizations will contribute to either party.
"They're just looking to be with who's successful, in many cases," he said.
Perry said he doesn't "make a whole lot" of Madonna's theory on PAC donations.
"I meet with any single individual or organization that calls on me now," he said. "I never ask any individual or organization why they support me. What their individual motives are, you have to ask them."
Third party: Candidates are required by law to file papers with the Federal Election Commission when they reach $5,000 in contributions or spending.
The two third-party candidates in the race, independent Wayne Wolff and Libertarian Mike Koffenberger, did not file reports.
Wolff said he has only received one contribution - $100 from his brother-in-law.
"Ultimately, I think the people will decide neither party is doing its job and I'll be victorious," he said.
Koffenberger said he has submitted reports, though the FEC has not yet made them available on its website. He said he has raised $4,128. -------------
Big money contributors
State Rep. Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg, has taken in thousands from political action committees, or PACs, according to reports due at the Federal Election Commission Monday. Patriots for Perry took in $83,200 from PACs and other committees from July 1 through Sept. 30, the current filing period.
Here's a look at some of the donors:
Amazon.com's PAC, $1,000
American Bankers Association $1,000
American Dental PAC, $2,500
American Medical Association, $5,000
Asplundh Tree Expert PAC, $4,000
Associated Builders and Contractors PAC, $5,000
National Automotive Dealers Association PAC, $5,000
Exxon Mobil Corp. PAC, $5,000
Friends of John Boehner, $2,000
National Community Pharmacists Association PAC, $1,000
National Rifle Association, $1,000
NiSource, parent company of Columbia Gas, $1,000
Spectra Energy, $1,000
American Trucking Association PAC, $1,000
US Chamber of Commerce, $1,000
Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America PAC, $1,000
- Reach Christina Kauffman at email@example.com.