EDITORIAL: A DePasquale-Perry showdown would have been welcome change

York Dispatch
  • The possibility exists for a congressional showdown between Eugene DePasquale and Scott Perry.
  • The battle could come in the proposed 10th Congressional District in Pennsylvania.
  • DePasquale has not committed to run and the proposed 10th District may not become a reality.

Call it wishful thinking on our part.

In this file photo, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale outlines the findings of an audit of the York City School District, Thursday, April 20, 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

Yes, there were — and still are — some sizable hurdles standing in the way, but the race we envisioned would have galvanized interest in York County and beyond.

More importantly, it would have provided local voters with a clear, competitive choice.

That’s why we were encouraged when Auditor General Eugene DePasquale acknowledged last week he was considering a run in the proposed 10th Pennsylvania Congressional District.

The York City Democrat and former state representative tweeted Wednesday, Feb. 21, that he must weigh his potential impact in Washington, D.C., with his day-to-day effectiveness in the state. He added that he would decide before the deadline to begin filing nominating petitions.

Unfortunately for residents of the newly created 10th District, DePasquale decided against a congressional run, saying Monday there is still work he needs to do as Pennsylvania's auditor general.

Possible battle of political heavyweights: The boundaries of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts are still very much in doubt after the state Supreme Court threw out a 6-year-old map as unconstitutionally gerrymandered to help Republicans.

Under the proposed, court-approved map, DePasquale would have run in the new 10th District, which will likely include incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg.

DePasquale considers taking on Perry in new congressional district

DePasquale vs. Perry — what a race that would have been.

Two local political heavyweights in a clash that had the potential to actually be competitive.

That would have been a welcome change in these parts.

Normally, our local congressional general elections are rather dull affairs, more coronations than competitive races. In deep-red, conservative York County, the Republican congressional candidate almost always cruises to victory. The only real drama comes in the Republican primary, and that only happens when there is no Republican incumbent.

When there is a Republican incumbent, such as Perry, he’s almost guaranteed re-election. There’s no drama, and much worse, no real choice for the voters.

State Supreme Court-drawn boundaries of the 10th Congressional District. Feb. 19, 2016

Under the proposed 10th District, however, Perry’s road to victory would not be so secure, especially if someone with DePasquale’s stature ran against him.

The newly drawn districts vastly change representation in York County, which currently is wholly encompassed in the 4th District with all of Adams County and parts of Dauphin and Cumberland counties.

Under the new proposal, York County will now be split into the 10th District — including all of Dauphin County and part of Cumberland County — and the 11th District, joining the majority of York County with all of Lancaster County.

The 10th District would include the northern part of York County, including York City, but Perry would lose a strong base of Republican support from southern York County.

Perry not a fan: Perry, not surprisingly, is not a fan of the new, court-approved congressional districts. He called the court's district map "in direct violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution" and said the process sets "a dangerous national precedent." He said in an email that he believes the new map unfairly benefits Democrats.

Perry has joined other Republican congressmen in challenging the proposed map in federal court.

Judges decline to immediately throw out congressional map

So, there’s no telling if the proposed 10th District will ever become a reality.

If it does become a reality, however, we strongly hope more people of DePasquale's caliber decide to run for the seat.

Yes, he would have been missed as the state’s auditor general, where he has done a fine job over the years.

We believe, however, he could have done just as much good, if not more, on the federal level. Plus, he would have provided local voters with a valid choice against Perry.

Perry would likely still have been the favorite, but he could not have simply waltzed to victory, as in previous years.

We believe it would have been a welcome change, because competitive races strengthen the voice of in people and, in turn, the democracy.

What might have been.