N. Neiman Craley Jr. of Red Lion was the last Democrat to represent the 19th Congressional District.
That was 1966. For the next 45 years, a Republican by the last name of either Goodling or Platts has held the seat, which will become the 4th Congressional District next year.
Democrats view the retirement of incumbent Rep. Todd Platts, R-York County, as an opportunity, perhaps the best chance they've had in at least the 12 years since Platts took office.
The same plan that's changing the name of the district is dropping more than 23,000 Harrisburg Democrats into the Republican stronghold.
But political analyst Terry Madonna from Franklin & Marshall College said York Township Democratic nominee Harry Perkinson faces "a hard road ahead" if he's to win "what is literally one of the most conservative districts in the state."
The numbers: Even with redistricting adding thousands of Democrats to the district, Madonna said Republicans still classify the 4th as "a safe district." According to elections offices in the four counties in the district -- York, Adams, Cumberland and Dauphin -- there are 168,953 registered Democrats and 212,163 Republicans in the 4th.
"This would be a huge challenge for a Democrat to win the seat," Madonna said. "It's going to be a tough road. They have to be independent of the president, and be a moderate Democrat, a Blue Dog."
The Blue Dog Coalition is a group of self-identified moderate Democrats in the House of Representatives.
"If you try to run as a conventional liberal, it's an exercise in futility," Madonna said. "You have to talk about cutting debts and deficits and entitlement reform ... and focus on economic growth and development."
Perkinson responds: Perkinson, an engineer, said he considers himself "severely moderate" and a rational thinker.
"I'm going to engage in a great deal of retail politics." he said. "People who sit down and talk to me will find out I'm a very reasonable person."
As an engineer, Perkinson collects facts, develops theories and uses those theories to solve problems, he said, adding that is how he would legislate.
He is pro-choice, and he supports gay marriage, two issues Madonna said could be problematic.
"Is he pro-choice? Does he support gay marriage?" asked Madonna, getting a "yes" reply to both questions and expressing skepticism. "Excuse me? I'm just making the point that at some point this will be brought up if it gets to be a serious campaign."
Who's closer to Platts? Perkinson said he'll gain supporters by appealing to moderate and liberal Republicans who recognize that Republican nominee state Rep. Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg is "far more conservative" than Platts has been.
"Platts enjoyed Democratic support, and I'm not sure that's going to be the case with Mr. Perry," he said. "And there are a lot of moderate Republicans who are not happy with the direction of the party and aren't happy with the direction of the leadership."
Bob Wilson, chairman of the York County Republican Party, agreed Perry is more conservative.
"How far much farther right, that's up to the voters to decide," he said.
But Wilson said the more conservative candidate won't push Republicans to a Democrat, and, "at the end of the day," all Republicans will unite to send Perry to Washington.
Financial strategy: Perkinson said he'll prioritize issues on which many people can agree, such as developing the economy and improving employment numbers.
"That's going to affect how we deal with the deficit and the debt," he said.
But while Madonna suggested Perkinson adopt the Republican rhetoric on financial issues, Perkinson said cutting the deficit and debt would cause the U.S. to suffer as Europe has.
"England is back in recession, and it was the premier model cited for the austerity the Republican leadership has been proposing," he said.
-- Reach Christina Kauffman at 505-5436, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter at @YDYorkCounty.