Congressman-elect Scott Perry, having served as a soldier in Iraq and Bosnia, has presumably felt the relief of a finished battle.

He emerged again when the dust settled Tuesday after nearly 10 months of campaigning for the open seat in the new 4th Congressional District.

The soldier, businessman, and state representative was the top vote-getter for a coveted seat that was left open with the January retirement announcement of Rep. Todd Platts, R-York County.

The 4th includes York, Cumberland, Dauphin and Adams counties. With all counties reporting total numbers, Perry had 155,339 votes to Perkinson's 92,239.

Libertarian Mike Koffenberger and Independent Wayne Wolff trailed in the race, both men had less than 10,000 votes.

Scott Perry talks with other Republicans at the Yorktowne Hotel Tuesday.
Scott Perry talks with other Republicans at the Yorktowne Hotel Tuesday. (Bil Bowden)

'Humbling': Perry, R-Dillsburg, told a crowded room of Republicans at the Yorktowne Hotel that the win was "humbling" and his campaign was an attempt to create a better future.

Though it wasn't clear that President Barack Obama was re-elected at the time of Perry's victory speech, he vowed to work with either man on legislative priorities. One of his top concerns, though, includes repeal of Obama's healthcare legislation.

Others are balancing the budget and reducing debt, he said.

Perry must first complete the remaining portion of his third term in the State House, a seat he left open when he announced his bid for Congress.

His highest-profile legislation there includes the expansion of the Castle Doctrine, designed to protect gun owners who act in self defense.

Perkinson concedes: Some political experts said the real battle for the Republican-favoring district was fought during the April primary, in which Perry defeated six other Republicans for the nomination.

But the redistricting that created the 4th, previously the 19th Congressional District, added about 40,000 Democrats and gave Democrats a chance to believe a win was possible.

Democrat Harry Perkinson said the run for Congress, aside from "not winning," has been "an extraordinarily positive experience."

The campaign has been a long one, and he met a lot of voters on the trail and discovered unexpected diversity in the people who live in the district, he said.

Bipartisan support is key for a win in a district, such as the 4th, where voters favor one party. And in the end, Perkinson said he didn't reach out to enough of the Republicans.

Having fallen short on bipartisan support, he said he hopes Perry listens to all of the constituents in the district, not just those who voted for him.

"That's been lacking in recent years, where political leaders think party rules," he said. "We'll keep an eye on him and see what kind of representative he'll be."

The York Township engineer said he would have liked the race to have been closer, and it's "highly doubtful" he'll run again in two years.

Platts statement: Perry's victory speech included praise for Platts, who held the seat for 12 years, and the example he set as a legislator.

But Platts apparently seized the opportunity to do something he couldn't have done as a candidate: leave.

He and his wife and sons were out of town on a family vacation, chief of staff Bob Reilly said, and he was unavailable for comment but provided a statement offering his "sincere congratulations."

"I know first-hand that representing one's fellow citizens in Congress is a remarkable privilege, and I am confident that Scott's life experiences and commitment to service will ensure his successful representation of Pennsylvania's 4th District," the statement read. "I look forward to working with Scott over the next two months to ensure a smooth transition between our offices."

After thanking family, Perry thanked his "Patriots," the group of enthusiastic volunteers who led his effort.

Perry recalled having watched as they were "hanging out" of cars while inserting lawn signs. He wondered whether that was even legal and hoped nobody got hurt in the name of his campaign, he said.

He thanked the voters, promising, "I will not let you down," and saying he'll always "listen and discuss" but never compromise his principles.

- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.