Perry, Daniels spar in first — and possibly only — joint appearance

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Perry faced off against Democratic opponent Shamaine Daniels in what may be their first and only in-person discussion, six weeks before the general election.

Perry sought to cast himself as someone focused on fixing inflation and limiting the Biden administration.

"We all know the challenges we face, we know the problems in front of us," Perry said in the segment that aired Wednesday on ABC27. "We don't need another Biden/Pelosi rubber stamp in Congress. You know I'm a fighter, you know what I'm focused on."

Daniels, for her part, sought to convince voters that a change was needed — and she was that change. She specifically referred to Perry's involvement in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, leading to several tense moments in the studio.

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., speaks during a news conference with members of the House Freedom Caucus outside the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 28, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)

In the end, Daniels said her opponent was focused on politics at the expense of his constituents.

"We need solutions, and in the time that Congressman Perry has been in office, his district has gotten worse economically, small farms are struggling, our urban areas are struggling," Daniels said, "and we need someone who can come in and help us address the challenges that we're facing that are too large for small municipalities to solve on their own."

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As of now, according to Perry campaign spokesperson Matt Beynon, the ABC27 segment is the only debate on the schedule. The full segment is set to be uploaded to ABC27's website.

The candidates sparred on issues like inflation, abortion and immigration. On abortion, Perry said states should have the ability to individually determine what to do on abortion and reinforced his position that he is against the procedure with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

"But my opponent hasn't answered the question," Perry said. "Do we want to have abortions the day of the birth?"

For her part, Daniels said she is staunchly pro-choice and cited her own experience as a mother. She said that if the child was going to suffer or the mother was going to die, then she would support a late-term abortion.

"Complications can arise all the way up to the end of the pregnancy, my pregnancy had to be induced two days after being told everything was fine," she said. "To sit and think that the government can make one rule about what is the right and wrong time to deal with issues that come up during pregnancy is ridiculous."

Shamaine Daniels, of Harrisburg, is shown in Harrisburg, Thursday, June 23, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

On immigration, Daniels cited her experience as an immigration attorney and said that there needs to be more funding for immigration agencies and increased staffing to help assist legal immigrants.

For his part, Perry said the borders are open and that more needs to be done to stop illegal immigrants and fentanyl from coming across the border.

Perry repeatedly sought to cast his opponent as someone who would be a rubber-stamp for Democrats in Congress, has extremist positions and did not back law enforcement and first responders.

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"Congressman Perry is the clear choice of law enforcement in the 10th congressional district," a release from Perry's campaign said after the event. "As violent crime continues to rise, the choice for public safety in south central Pennsylvania could not be more clear: Scott Perry for Congress."

Daniels, in response, said she had never voted against a salary increase for officers in her tenure on the Harrisburg City Council. She also referred to Perry's actions leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"From trying to avoid responsibility for his role in the attempt to overturn the election to complaining about inflation while voting against every piece of legislation that would help his constituents," Daniels said, after the event aired, "Scott Perry showed his true colors: All talk, no action."

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.