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Brier concedes; DePasquale set to face Perry

Staff report
U.S. House candidate Tom Brier meets with voters at Central Market, Thursday, December 19, 2019. 
John A. Pavoncello photo

Democratic congressional hopeful Tom Brier conceded Monday evening, leaving state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale set to challenge U.S. Rep. Scott Perry in November.

Brier, an attorney from Derry Township, Dauphin County, mounted a campaign from DePasquale's left flank. DePasquale beat him easily in York County. But Brier, counting on big returns in Dauphin County, declined to concede until Monday.

"This campaign was never about a candidate. It was about a cause," Brier said Monday in a concession speech broadcast on Facebook Live. "A cause committed to economic equality at a time when 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck; a cause committed to social justice at a time when black men are being shot and suffocated in the streets; a cause committed to climate change at a time when civilization is at stake; a cause committed to democracy when autocracy is on the rise; a cause committed to hope when far too many live in despair." 

The explosion of mail-in ballots in this year's primary election played a significant role in Brier's calculus to hold out while DePasquale's lead swelled to more than 8,000 votes. As late as Sunday, mail-in ballots from 59 precincts in Dauphin County remained uncounted.

"To Eugene DePasquale, congratulations to who I know will become our next representative in Congress," Brier said. "Together, I know we can beat Scott Perry."

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale talks with the media during his visit at York Hospital Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Bill Kalina photo

DePasquale declared victory Friday, even as Brier refused to concede. DePasquale's campaign would not issue a new statement Monday after Brier dropped out, said campaign spokesperson Rachele Fortier.

The race turned testy in April when Brier accused DePasquale of misappropriating funds from his state-level campaign to prop up his House bid. 

More:Complaint: DePasquale violated campaign finance law

Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District is considered among the country's most competitive. Cook Political Report has rated it a "toss up" with the assumption that DePasquale would be the Democratic candidate.

In 2018, Perry, R-Carroll Township, bested Democrat George Scott with 51.6% of the vote.

The district includes all of Dauphin County and portions of York and Cumberland counties. 

Nationally, the House Democratic campaign arm has pledged substantial backing to DePasquale's bid. This past week, amid Brier's refusal to bow out, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee blasted Perry in a release and boosted DePasquale's record in statewide office. 

DePasquale had raised $1.1 million at the end of the second fiscal quarter, according to the Federal Election Commission, and had $703,000 on hand. Perry's campaign had raised $1.5 million, ending the quarter with $723,000 in its coffers. 

Congressman Scott Perry speaks during a town hall event at Hummelstown Fire Department Tuesday, July 30, 2019. It was the first in-person town hall by Perry in over two years. Bill Kalina photo