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York City is a key player in Democrat Tom Brier's bid to secure the Democratic nomination and unseat U.S. Rep Scott Perry in 2020.

Speaking with a small group of voters at a meet-and-greet event at Central Market on Thursday, Dec. 19, Brier, the Hershey-based author and attorney, said the liberal stronghold is prime real estate for a campaign running to the left of the other Democrat in the race.

"I noticed early on that people felt a disconnect with their elected officials," the 27-year-old said. "Their needs weren't being addressed. I thought, as a first-time candidate, it was a great opportunity to develop a relationship with people working on the ground."

More: Tom Brier, the millennial working to oust Scott Perry

More: DePasquale outraised Perry in third quarter, according to finance reports

York is the second most populous city in the 10th Congressional District, behind Harrisburg. Its voters are relatively progressive compared with the other municipalities within the district.

Brier said his policy priorities align with problems the city's residents experience on a regular basis, such as gun violence and poverty. The Democrat has said he supports an assault weapons ban and raising the minimum wage.

Anu Banks, founder of The Movement, a York City-based advocacy organization that hosted Brier's event, said he supports the candidate because of his willingness to hear residents' struggles.

"I'm supportive of anyone that tries to get out and ask the struggling people the hard questions to get the right answers, because they are the ones that live it," Banks said.

Brier is set to face state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale in April's Democratic primary. 

Political analysts have said DePasquale's name recognition and fundraising potential will make him tough to beat in the Democratic contest. 

DePasquale raised about $360,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30 and had more than $280,000 cash on hand, according to filings with the Federal Elections Commission. Brier has raised just more than $300,000 since February, with $197,000 cash on hand.

Brier, however, has dismissed DePasquale as an establishment candidate backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Although the DCCC hasn't endorsed the auditor general, its staff has shown up at his events in support of him.

The 10th District includes northern York County, part of Cumberland County and all of Dauphin County.

Dauphin County, which includes Harrisburg, is the largest by population within the 10th District. It has grown increasingly liberal over the years.

In 2018, Democrat George Scott earned 54% of the vote in Dauphin County. He came within 3 percentage points of Perry, a Carroll Township Republican, throughout the district in the general election.

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

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