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Former Democratic U.S. House candidate George Scott will not challenge Rep. Scott Perry in 2020, potentially clearing the Democratic field for a run by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

Scott, who narrowly lost in 2018 to Perry, R-Pa., by three points, said in a news release Friday he doesn't plan to give it another shot after consulting "a variety of people."

"I have decided to not run for Congress in 2020," Scott said, adding he would instead support "a strong Democratic candidate who can defeat Congressman Perry and be the change we need in Washington.”

Scott did not immediately respond to follow-up inquiries about whether he would endorse DePasquale. A spokesman for Scott declined to name a candidate Scott would support, as no one is yet officially running.

More: George Scott to announce plans as DePasquale rumors swirl

The announcement may pave the way for DePasquale, who has been in talks with Democrats about announcing a campaign in July, The Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing two anonymous Democratic Party sources.

The auditor general would be the second Democratic candidate. Tom Brier, an author and attorney from Hershey, Dauphin County, announced in April he'd be challenging Perry.

Yet no one, including DePasquale, has gone on the record to confirm the York County native's run.

That includes the state Democrats, York County Democrats and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. When contacted, all of the organizations declined to address directly DePasquale's potential bid. 

The state party and DCC didn't respond to follow-up inquiries on Friday. Chad Baker, chairman of the Democratic Party of York County, said he can't "confirm nor deny any potential candidates for the office."

With Scott dismissing another run, DePasquale could avoid a potentially confrontational primary battle, said G. Terry Madonna, director of Franklin and Marshall College's Center for Politics and Public Affairs.

Scott is being realistic about likely being an underdog in the race, Madonna added, as DePasquale would be a strong candidate and the race would likely be among the most the country's most hotly contested. 

DePasquale's potential mostly stems from his row office experience and name recognition from consistently visiting the district to publicize recent audits. He also has deep connections with the Democratic Party.

"If you look at that district, it's hard to imagine another Democrat with more prominence and more ability to raise money," Madonna said on Friday.

Those qualities are supplemented by new congressional lines the state Supreme Court implemented in February 2018, which made Republican strongholds friendlier to liberal candidates.

In 2018, DePasquale  mulled a run for Perry's seat that oversees northern York County, part of Cumberland County and all of Dauphin County. 

Candidates have until Feb. 18 to file for a spot on the ballot in April's Democratic primary. 

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include Tom Brier's bid for the 10th District seat.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD

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