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State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced his bid to challenge Rep. Scott Perry in 2020 for his House seat. William Kalina, 717-505-5449/@BillKalina

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York County Democrats have long been overlooked and underserved.

That could finally change in November of 2020, at least for those Democrats living in the northern half of the county.

Local progressives and moderates may finally have a real voice — and a real choice — in the race for the 10th Pennsylvania District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

That’s a good thing. Having a true choice is always a good thing in a political race.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t normally been the case in these parts.

Before 2018, the general election for our local House seat had long been a coronation, not a contest. Because of Republican gerrymandering, the winner of the Republican primary was practically guaranteed to win the seat in the general election.

A real challenge: That should not be the case in 2020. The current 10th District representative, Scott Perry of Carroll Township, will likely face a real challenge.

That’s because state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, a York County native, has officially announced he is running for Perry’s seat.

That sets up a race that will likely garner nationwide attention as one of the pivotal races of the 2020 congressional election.

Perry has served as a local congressman since 2013. His first couple of elections were cakewalks. As a result, he pandered to his conservative Republican base, while basically ignoring his Democratic constituents.

Pivotal ruling: That all changed in February of 2018 when the state Supreme Court imposed new, fairer congressional lines. The court found the previous congressional lines were unfairly gerrymandered to favor Republicans.

The new 10th District was created, which includes northern York County, part of Cumberland County and all of Dauphin County. For the first time, Perry had a real battle on his hands in the 2018 general election against political newcomer George Scott, who put up a spirited effort before losing to Perry by just three points.

In 2020, Perry figures to have an even tougher contest on his hands against DePasquale, who will enter the race with much higher political profile than Scott had.

Scott has stepped aside for DePasquale, announcing he will not run again in 2020.

Moderate views: DePasquale, meanwhile, has already started to position himself for his congressional run by announcing he would not push for the more liberal policies espoused by the left wing of his party, such as the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.

That’s a smart move. Despite the redrawing of the congressional map, the 10th District remains a relatively moderate/conservative region. DePasquale will not beat Perry with a far-left agenda.

Republicans on the attack: Perry, for his part, has come out on the attack, issuing the following statement: “Eugene DePasquale is the hand-picked candidate of Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats who want to move America towards socialism and destroy access to quality healthcare, increase taxes through the roof on working class families and cost us thousands of jobs right here in Pennsylvania."

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania also went on the offensive, alleging DePasquale is using the House bid as a launching pad for a higher office.

“Egregiously, DePasquale has been a fraud and a failure as auditor general, holding himself out as an independent fiscal watchdog, all the while jet-setting across Pennsylvania while expensing taxpayers for nearly $100,000 as he used his official office to boost his personal political profile in advance of this congressional announcement," the statement read.

There is no denying that DePasquale is ambitious. What politician isn’t?

Smell of fear: Still, both statements have the smell of fear. The Republicans know that DePasquale has a legitimate chance to unseat Perry.

No matter who wins the race, however, the ultimate winners will be the voters of the 10th District. At long last, all of the general-election voters should have a real voice in choosing their next representative.

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