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Protesters sparred with each other on immigration issues as did U.S. Rep. Scott Perry with vocal attendees at his town hall in Hummelstown. William Kalina, 717-505-5449/@BillKalina

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U.S. Rep. Scott Perry chalked up reports of low attendance at his Tuesday town hall in Hummelstown, Dauphin County, to "fake news" and liberal sabotage.

As Perry began making remarks at 6 p.m. at the Hummelstown Fire Department, the room was about half full. It wasn't until wait-listed demonstrators angrily confronted staffers about being barred from the half-empty room that they were allowed in, filling up roughly 30 more seats.

The venue, also lined with unused seats along both walls, was said to have a 200-person capacity. But the Carroll Township Republican said on Facebook on Thursday it was exaggerated by media and those who oppose his policies.

"With regard to the number of empty seats at Tuesday night’s town hall, the photo circulated in the media was taken at the beginning of the event, and doesn’t give an accurate representation of the attendance — more fake news," Perry wrote.

More: At testy town hall, Perry and voters debate Trump, immigration and guns

The four-term Republican in his post claimed he was advised "certain individuals and groups" would flood the RSVP process — which required government-issued IDs proving they live in the 10th District — to not show up to embarrass the candidate.

Perry also accused the media of misrepresenting the attendance by taking pictures early in the event. In reality, the venue was roughly half full until an hour in, when the protesters and those without tickets were admitted.

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of U.S. House Democrats, like the more than 30 protesters outside of the venue, asserted Perry is just trying to silence opposition.

“It’s no surprise that congressman Perry is trying to hide from tough questions from his constituents," said DCCC spokesman Mike Gwin. "He’s spent his entire career in Washington pursuing an extreme partisan obstructionist agenda and siding with his special-interest donors to vote to increase the cost of health care and take away protections from Pennsylvanians with pre-existing conditions.”

An email leaked to The York Dispatch on Thursday from Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, shows the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus is pushing for donations for Perry and five other candidates because "most Republicans in Washington at least pretend to support President Trump publicly, but behind closed doors many oppose his policies and are battling for control of the Republican Party."

Two Democrats are vying to challenge Perry in 2020: State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and Hershey-native author and attorney Tom Brier.

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

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