Perry makes plea for Republicans to vote by mail at conservative conference

Gun Rights

CAMP HILL— U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R-10th District) made his expected annual visit to the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference on Friday, but challenged his fellow conservatives to embrace a method of voting that is popular with Democrats: vote-by-mail. 

“I didn’t pick the battlefield that I was going to have to fight on and neither did you,” Perry said. “It is what it is. We have what we have.”

Perry said that if he had it his way, there wouldn’t be “Election Month or Election Week,” but just an Election Day where voters would provide identification, but that isn’t the case. He said Republicans have to embrace Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballots, adding that the legislature “probably” won’t be changing the law.

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“The way it’s going to happen is this,” Perry said. “We got to take the system that they have, the system that was put in place, and we’re going to beat them at their own game and when we beat them at their own game, they’ll be crying to show up on Election Day with their identification.”

Following applause from the audience, he urged them to “stay in the fight” and make sure everyone they know is registered to vote, and follows through at the ballot box. 

Perry claimed that if all registered Republicans would vote, no matter what the method, they would win every election. 

Democrats have, in recent elections, used mail voting at significantly higher rates than Republicans. So pronounced is the split that in 2020, President Joe Biden won the mail vote in 14 out of 15 states analyzed by 538.com, while Trump likewise won the Election Day vote in 14 out of 15. That list included Pennsylvania.

GOP backs voting by mail, yet turns to courts to restrict it in battleground states

Perry has been a regular at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference for years, which takes place within his district. He wasn’t the only Republican at the conference to urge fellow Republicans to vote by mail.

David McCormick, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, told the audience Friday that “it’s something we’ve got to embrace or we’re going to lose.”

Just outside of the conference room, the Pennsylvania Republican Party had a sign-in sheet encouraging voters to sign up to “bank your vote” by committing to vote early, while Win Again PAC also had signs outside of the venue that read “Beat the Democrats Vote By MAIL.” 

Despite the coordinated efforts from Republicans, former President Donald Trump has called mail-in voting “totally corrupt,” as recently as February, delivering mixed messaging to GOP voters.

Perry, a former member of the House Freedom Caucus, has made headlines in recent years due to his effort in reportedly boosting Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election in Pennsylvania.

McCormick says GOP has to embrace mail-in voting ‘or we’re going to lose’

Trump will be in Pennsylvania on April 13 for a fundraiser in the Philadelphia suburbs and a rally in the Lehigh Valley. Perry was in attendance for Trump’s February visit to Harrisburg to a National Rifle Association event.

Perry was the only member of the state’s congressional delegation to deliver an address to the conference on Friday, although U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser (R-9th District) is scheduled to speak on Saturday. 

Perry is running unopposed for the Republican Party nomination for the 10th Congressional District, but six Democrats are currently vying for their party’s nomination to face him, with national Democrats are also eyeing the seat. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced this week that it is targeting Republicans in eight congressional districts for supporting a bill that would ban in-vitro fertilization. That target lists includes Perry’s 10th Congressional District. 

The month-long billboard campaign will be on display in swing districts held by Republicans who supported the Life at Conception Act.

“House Republicans will stop at nothing — including outlawing in vitro fertilization — to reach their ultimate goal: banning abortion and restricting reproductive rights nationwide,” said DCCC spokesperson Aidan Johnson. “We will not let Americans forget that extreme House Republicans, including those who pretend to be moderates, continue to put politics over families by championing out-of-touch legislation that chips away at freedom.”

Perry’s campaign fired back, disagreeing with the charge. 

“Liberals can lie all they want, but Congressman Perry made it clear that he supports IVF treatments because they help families struggling to conceive experience the blessing of building a family,” said Matt Beynon, campaign spokesman. 

The DCCC told the Capital-Star that the billboard, which is an image of House Speaker Mike Johnson and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is a five-figure ad buy. It does not include an image or quote from Perry. 

Perry is one of five Republicans serving in Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation who co-sponsored the legislation introduced last year that is referenced in the ad. 

According to ABC27, Perry said on Friday that he’s against a nationwide abortion ban. Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the legislative arm of the reproductive healthcare organization,  gives Perry a zero on its Congressional scorecard. 

The six Democrats fighting for their party’s nomination have discussed their support for abortion rights throughout their primary race. 

Janelle Stelson, a former longtime anchor at WGAL-TV, and Mike O’Brien, a recently retired Marine, are two of those Democrats seeking to challenge Perry, released their first ads this week, both mentioning abortion access in their 30 second spots.

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