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11th Congressional District candidates, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, left, and Democratic challenger Jess King, meet for a debate at Eastern York High School . York Dispatch

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They lost, but their losses made winners of us all.

That’s the best way to describe the congressional campaigns conducted by Democrats George Scott and Jess King here in deep-red York County.

Yes, the final vote tallies say that Scott and King were defeated, but they did not fail.

It can’t be considered a failure when both candidates put up spirited fights in an area that is a traditional Republican stronghold.

It can’t be considered a failure when both candidates conducted themselves with dignity and transparency throughout an election cycle best known for divisiveness and disinformation. 

It can’t be considered a failure when the voters of south-central Pennsylvania were given real, clear choices, rather than presented with simple Republican coronations.

Perry, Smucker couldn't coast: Rep. Scott Perry, a three-term Republican, had to work harder than ever before in fending off Scott in Pennsylvania’s 10th District, winning by just more than 2 percentage points. A Scott victory would’ve been one of the most monumental upsets in state legislative history.

In the 11th District, Jess King didn’t fare quite as well, falling by 18 percentage points against one-term incumbent Lloyd Smucker.

Still, in both instances, Scott and King earned the votes of thousands of folks here in York County. That is not a failure.

In fact, for Democrats in this neck of the Pennsylvania woods, garnering more than 40 percent of a general election vote is a real success. Just a few months ago, it would’ve been considered an almost impossible feat for a Democrat to come within a whisker of unseating Perry.

Scott, King would've been fine public servants: Yes, we wish that Scott and King would’ve won. That’s why we endorsed both. We believed they were the best candidates, based on their background, their character and their policy positions.

They also would’ve helped a Democratically controlled House of Representatives serve as a much-needed check on some of President Donald Trump’s worst behavior and policies.

Hoping they remain publicly active: Both, we believe, would’ve served this county, this state and this nation well in Washington. Both, we hope, will continue to be voices of reason in our political debate and will consider running for public office again.

That’s because they both bring a lot to the political table.

King serves as a local economy fellow with the National Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and works with the Coalition to Combat Poverty’s Private Sector Working Group.

Scott majored in international politics at Georgetown University and spent 20 years serving in the U.S. Army. He now serves as a pastor for Trinity Lutheran Church in East Berlin, Adams County.

Deserving of our thanks: South-central Pennsylvania may not have been ready to elect progressive candidates such as Scott and King in 2016, but that time may be coming, and sooner than many of us would’ve predicted.

In the meantime, they deserve our thanks for providing real, clear choices to the voters of York County and the surrounding region.

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