Perry receives boost from Koch-linked super PAC

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Congressman Scott Perry attended opening ceremonies at the 104th Pennsylvania Farm Show Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. Saturday was the first day of the week-long farm show. Bill Kalina photo

A political action committee linked to a Koch family-backed think tank has endorsed U.S. Rep. Scott Perry and on Thursday will launch a campaign on his behalf. 

Americans for Prosperity Action will roll out its efforts to support the Carroll Township Republican at an event from 3 to 6 p.m. at 1039 Mumma Road in Wormleysburg, Dauphin County, according to a news release. A door-knocking canvassing campaign will follow the event. 

"(Perry's) voting record has been good across the board on issues we care deeply about," said Tim Phillips, senior adviser to AFP Action. "So, for us, it was a no-brainer to start early."

The 10th District race has been labeled a toss-up by The Cook Political Report and Politico, in part because of new congressional district lines drawn in 2018 and a growing liberal presence in Dauphin County. 

Phillips agreed it was a "battleground district" but said the organization's infrastructure — which includes field offices and volunteers willing to make calls and knock on doors — can help earn Perry a fifth term.

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The super PAC is linked to Americans for Prosperity, which opened its doors in Arlington, Virginia, in 2004 and has played a significant role in conservative politics.

The Kochs and their network have sometimes broken with President Donald Trump, particularly on issues relating to immigration and trade. 

AFP Action wasn't created until the 2018 midterms in an effort to prop up candidates who embodied the organization's ideologies. Democrats were still able to flip the lower chamber, though, gaining 41 seats.

The super PAC spent nearly $16.5 million during the midterm cycle, according to the Federal Election Commission. The organization intends to triple that effort in the 2020 cycle, The Washington Times has reported. 

Perry was among the first of AFP Action's endorsements of Republican House members. He was joined by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, Ted Budd of North Carolina and Steve Chabot of Ohio. 

Perry, however, is the first candidate for whom the organization will have members knocking on doors. 

"It will be a six-figure effort," Phillips said.

Two Democrats vying for the Nov. 3 general election ballot are state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and Hershey-based author and attorney Tom Brier.

Brier, who hasn't received a dollar from any sort of PAC, specifically went on the offensive in a Tuesday statement.

"This isn't surprising. Polluters and billionaires need someone in Congress who supports polluters and billionaires," Brier said in the statement. "And that's what the Koch network has in Scott Perry. But voters of our District know better."

Political analysts, though, have said DePasquale would be the most competitive matchup in the district that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf won in his 2018 reelection bid by 10 percentage points.

DePasquale's campaign has received support from PACs, especially those associated with unions, according to FEC reports.

He has also been placed on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Red-to-Blue List, which shows the party believes he has the best chance of flipping the seat.

DePasquale's campaign spokeswoman Rachele Fortier did not address Perry's support from the super PAC, instead citing the Democrat's focus on "taking on tough fights to improve the lives of Pennsylvanians."

As a super PAC, AFP Action cannot directly coordinate with the Perry campaign, under federal law. And while it can't donate directly to candidates, it can spend unlimited amounts of money, endorse candidates and conduct independent campaigning.

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