In Rep. Scott Perry’s district, stridency against McCarthy is falling flat

Scott Perry for Congress
Rep. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., speaks during a campaign event in Lititz, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

In Rep. Scott Perry’s district, stridency against McCarthy is falling flat

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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Charlie Gerow, a Harrisburg-based media consultant and vice chairman of CPAC, has voted for Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) numerous times. However, like numerous central Pennsylvania voters who live in Perry’s 10th Congressional District, Gerow said he found himself profoundly at odds with Perry’s decision to oppose Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for speaker.

“Will Rogers once quipped, ‘I’m not a member of an organized political party; I’m a Democrat.’ This week he could have said, ‘I’m a congressional Republican,’” Gerow said.


“Scott Perry is my congressman, and I admire his conservative stances, but I am disappointed that some have chosen to make the perfect the enemy of the good. With a razor-thin majority, most conservative voters would have preferred to see us united and working together to win for issues upon which we agree,” Gerow explained.

Gerow was among several Republican voters, who have all voted for Perry numerous times, interviewed in the past few days who found themselves confounded by Perry digging in and refusing to support McCarthy for the House leadership position.

Perry, who has veered hard right in recent years, has become the face of the strident opposition preventing McCarthy from becoming House speaker, a move voters in his district say makes him seem as power-hungry and out of touch as Perry claims McCarthy is and proves Perry has no interest in governing, the entire reason voters sent him and Republicans into office.

Gerow said at this point, it is less about McCarthy and more about disruption.

The York County native is the head of the Freedom Caucus, a group of far-right House members who spend most of their time throwing wrenches at legislation and raising money off of their efforts.

As one yet-to-be-sworn-in new Republican House member said of this group of 20 who refuse to support the California congressman, “they move the goalpost every day in terms of what they are demanding from McCarthy, so no matter what he agrees to, they’ll say, ‘Well we’ve changed our mind. We want more.’”

Perry represents a sprawling central Pennsylvania district that includes Harrisburg, the upscale suburbs, and parts of Cumberland County, as well as York County.

A 49-year-old suburban mother who was getting ready to take her teenage boys to after-school sports said she has voted for Perry every time he has run. “I am a longtime Republican — like a longtime Republican — probably one of the people who bailed his behind out every time he has had a close election,” she said.

Now, she is on a group text with friends about getting someone to run against him. “We are all like, ‘Screw him. Let’s primary him,’” she said.

A Dauphin County small businessman agreed with her. “He’s done nothing but really focus on far-right issues that have little to do with the district, and it’s almost like the guy who ran as a Washington outsider has become the ultimate Washington insider,” he said.

“What he has done has been an embarrassment — just an embarrassment. There are so many important reasons why we sent him to Congress — work on the border crisis, the inflation — none of this gets done because of him. I am deeply disappointed,” he said.

In Cumberland County just outside Carlisle, one rural Republican voter who, along with dozens of others, asked permission that his name not be used to speak freely and candidly said that when Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) spoke yesterday, he thought he made some good points, “however, the larger point is that we now need a speaker installed. And right now, it’s time for all of the Republicans to come together on a single candidate, and it’s obviously McCarthy. This burn-it-all-down approach is actually going to hurt more than it’s helping.”

The father of a high school senior and married college graduate and staunch Republican said, “Honestly, the far-right group is no different than the ‘Squad’ on the Left; they’re using the same tactics that the Squad has done over the last couple of years, and the Squad has accomplished nothing.”

Holding the speaker hostage isn’t the way to do those things, he said, adding the next time Perry runs for reelection, it’s anyone but Perry for him.

“And honestly, I hope the 200 never gives in to the demands of the 20. I hope they understand they can’t because that opens the door to having to be held hostage by this slim majority on everything they do,” he said, adding, “As a voter, I did not vote for Perry so he could bring chaos. I don’t know where he got the notion that is why we sent him to office.”


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