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Republican Scott Perry faces Democrat Shamaine Daniels in race for U.S. Congressional 10th District

The district serves people in Dauphin and parts of Cumberland and York counties

  • Gabriela Martínez/WITF
Harrisburg City Councilwoman and Immigration lawyer Shamaine Daniels (left) will compete against U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (PA-10) for his seat in Congress on Nov. 8.

Harrisburg City Councilwoman and Immigration lawyer Shamaine Daniels (left) will compete against U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (PA-10) for his seat in Congress on Nov. 8.

witf · Republican Scott Perry faces Democrat Shamaine Daniels in race for U.S. Congressional 10th District

On Nov. 8, voters will decide who will represent Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District. Incumbent Rep. Scott Perry, whose role in former President Trump’s attempt to overturn his 2020 election loss has drawn interest from the House January 6th committee investigating the U.S. Capitol attack, has served five terms. Democratic challenger Shamaine Daniels sits on Harrisburg’s city council.

Here is what you need to know about the candidates and where they stand on some issues.

Shamaine Daniels

Daniels has served on Harrisburg’s City Council for three terms. She decided to run for city council after a sinkhole opened up on 5th Street in Harrisburg, a few blocks away from her house.

“That was kind of what made me go like, ‘Yeah, I should probably get involved,’” Daniels said.

“When those things happen, they’re really costly, and municipalities don’t have the ability to deal with them and address them.”

Shamaine Daniels plays with her daughter Rocio at her campaign headquarters in Harrisburg.

Daniels says one of her top achievements as a member of Harrisburg City Council is updating the city’s zoning code to allow for more flexibility for small business owners in the city.

“That was a big deal, and that was a big accomplishment, because it required consensus from so many different aspects of the city,” Daniels said.

As a council member, Daniels was also a key supporter of the city’s Human Relations Commission, which reactivated after being dormant for some time. The city also updated its Human Relations Act to include gender identity.

Daniels is an immigration lawyer, as well as an immigrant herself. She moved to the United States from Venezuela in 1991 when she was teenager. Her family was fleeing economic instability, shortages, and corruption in law enforcement.

“My dad owned the business, so it was just always a challenge to run the business within a corrupt system,” Daniels said.  

When she started attending school in the United States, Daniels said her parents did not want her to be in the ESL group, because they thought it would somehow hold her back.

“So basically, I pretended that I could speak English well,” Daniels said. “Whoever was making the assessment, they just looked at me and asked me a few questions, and I knew enough.” 

Her parents’ experiences inspired her interest in immigration law, which is a top issue in her campaign.

Daniels has raised more than $350,000, and she has almost $100,000 cash on hand. Perry has raised over $2.8 million. More than $500,000 comes from the House Freedom Fund, the campaign arm of the House Freedom Caucus, which Perry chairs.

Daniels admits funding was a challenge. When Democrat Eugene DePasquale dropped out of the race in February, Daniels had little time to fundraise. Advertising dollars are scarce.

“We’re targeting or being very thoughtful about where we place TV ads and digital ads. Because we don’t have a lot of money,” Daniels said.

Rep. Scott Perry

Rep. Perry was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013 to represent Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District, which included York, Adams and parts of Cumberland counties. 

That district was re-drawn and renamed, however, and in 2018, Perry was re-elected to represent the 10th Congressional district, which covers all of Dauphin County and parts of Cumberland and York counties.

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry speaks to the crowd during a town hall at Hummelstown Fire Department on July 30, 2019.

Ed Mahon / PA Post

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry speaks to the crowd during a town hall at Hummelstown Fire Department on July 30, 2019.

The Dillsburg man sits on the House committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Foreign Affairs. He is the chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

He joined the Army in 1980 and flew 44 combat missions in Iraq from 2009-2010. He served as commander at a Fort Indiantown Gap training site, and pursued a master’s in strategic studies at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle. He retired in 2019 after serving as an Assistant Adjutant General in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

Perry began working at age 13  picking fruit on a farm in Mechanicsburg, according to the bio on his official government page. He is the grandson of Colombian immigrants and son of a single mother. He says he has worked as a dock worker,  mechanic, draftsman and a licensed insurance agent, among other jobs. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University.

WITF has reached out to Perry’s campaign repeatedly throughout this campaign, but he was not available.

Perry’s role in the January 6th insurrection

Perry’s ties to the Jan. 6 insurrection have become a main focus in his bid for reelection. 

Perry stood on the House floor after police removed violent insurrectionists and said Pennsylvania’s electoral votes should not be counted. He pointed to several things that he had a problem with, including late-in-the-campaign rules changes by Democratic leaders in Pennsylvania. He voted against certifying Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.

The House January 6th committee has also stated that Perry sought a pardon from President Donald Trump – an allegation Perry has called “a soulless lie.” He has refused to testify before the committee. 

In its latest subpoena to Donald Trump, the committee asked for any communication he had with members of Congress, including Perry.

Perry’s phone data was seized under warrant by the FBI in August. Media outlets in central Pennsylvania have filed a motion to unseal the records related to Perry’s phone seizure. 

Some of Perry’s actions as a lawmaker set him apart from more moderate Republicans. Last year, he voted “no” on a resolution to condemn Q-anon, a conspiracy group that espouses theories such as “Satan-worshiping elites” who control politics and media. Perry was one of two Republican Pennsylvania congressmen who voted against the resolution. The majority of House Republicans — 146 — voted to condemn the group. In a statement regarding the vote, Perry told the Capital Star that he does not agree or subscribe to Q-anon, but was voting to protect free speech.

Perry also voted against the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, which aimed to protect Asian Americans from a rise of violence against them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Perry justified his vote in a statement, saying that the bill would further promote division.


Immigration is a top issue for Daniels, who has expertise in immigration law and her own experiences navigating the immigration system in the United States. She says she hopes to find long-term solutions to fix a broken immigration system.

She said immigration offices must be properly staffed to avoid backlogs of asylum cases and applications for worker visas. 

Daniels also calls for more funding of immigration agencies, and says that the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border is in part because of underfunding and understaffing of border agencies. 

“I think the Republicans are wrong on a lot about immigration, but I think the Democrats have been lazy on a lot about immigration,” Daniels said.

Perry believes “the first step in the immigration reform process must be to secure our borders,” according to his government page. His main priority is strengthening enforcement of immigration law, and cracking down on illegal immigration on the border. He sponsored the Preserving Border Act bill, to “limit the availability of asylum for aliens transiting through a third country.”

During a recent debate with Daniels and in other settings, Perry has linked fentanyl trafficking to illegal immigration on the border, even though most fentanyl in the country is smuggled in by U.S. citizens, according to reports from NPR and The Washington Post.

Agriculture, migrant workforce

Daniels’ approach to agriculture is in part tied to her immigration policy proposals. One of Daniels’ main priorities is tackling the agricultural worker shortage by making it easier to process migrant worker permits. She argues this can be solved in the short-term by increasing staffing in offices that handle worker permit applications and renewals.

“In ag – and manufacturing – not only are they worried about things not being processed on time, not getting workers on time, but they’re also struggling to recruit workers,” said Daniels, who added that fewer workers want to work in the United States because of immigration raids on farms.

Daniels also proposes investing in wind and solar energy, which she says could help increase farmers’ revenues, decrease overhead costs and help protect land and water resources. Daniels also supports taxing wealth to help support small  family farms.

Perry opposes federal environmental regulation he says would impact farmers. In 2014, he joined farmers and local businesses to oppose EPA regulations on ponds, ditches and other wet areas. In 2020, he applauded Trump’s rollback of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Perry voted against the Farmer Workforce Modernization Act in 2021, which proposes reforming the agricultural visa program to make it easier to attract migrant workforce.

Economy and Jobs

Inflation is a top issue for voters in the midterms. In Perry and Daniels’s debate on ABC27, the first question that came up was related to inflation and specific actions the candidates would take to tackle it.

Perry blames Biden’s policies.

“Inflation is driven right now by too many dollars chasing too few goods, and one of the problems, of course, is the Biden administration who just keeps on heaping money upon money into this economy, and so what we can do in Congress is to make sure that only the money that we need to spend and the priorities that we need to spend on are addressed,” Perry said in the debate. Perry also proposes lowering taxes and reducing federal regulations on corporations.

Perry told WGAL that the United States needs to increase fossil fuel production as a solution to inflation tied to high gas prices. ”We need to open up the Keystone pipeline,” he said.

Perry voted against the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which implements a minimum tax of 15% on corporations that make more than $1 billion and provides tax credits to incentivize the use of renewable energy.

Daniels supports a $15-an hour federal minimum wage that adjusts to inflation. In 2018, Perry said he would support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024. Daniels also said she would crack down on “price gouging” to tackle high prices. 


On her campaign website, Daniels supports the Affordable Care Act. As a step forward, Daniels supports removing regulations that prevent healthcare professionals – like nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants – from starting their own practices. 

Health access is on the minds of Daniels’ constituents. She says her meet-and-greet events turn into complaint sessions about how hard it is to get appointments with medical specialists. Daniels says her district is “a medically underserved region,” and that leveraging the immigrant workforce could also be a solution to a medical shortage.

Perry has been part of efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but supports healthcare legislation that lowers prescription costs and covers pre-existing conditions. Perry also voted for the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID Act bill, introduced by Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

Reproductive Rights, LGBTQ+ issues

Perry believes abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother. On his campaign page, he says he wants to “block taxpayer funding for abortions” and “defund Planned Parenthood” and shift its funding to “local health clinics.”

When Roe v. Wade  was overturned, Perry tweeted the Supreme Court decision was “a monumental victory for the unborn, and constitutionally restores the rights of the States’ and Citizens’ to adjudicate this issue for themselves.” Perry voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022.

Perry also voted against the Right to Contraception Act – a bill to ensure access to contraceptives nationwide. It passed the House in July.

The Dobbs decision has raised concerns that it could also lead to the overturning of Obergefell vs. Hodges – the landmark Supreme Court decision that enshrined the right to same-sex marriage. Perry voted in favor of the Respect for Marriage act – a measure that would federally permit gay marriage.

Daniels describes herself as staunchly pro-abortion rights and believes abortion should be protected on a federal level. Perry pressed Daniels in their debate about her stance on late-term abortion and her support from NARAL, an organization that lobbies against abortion restrictions.      

 “Anyone who politicizes late-term abortions, clearly has never experienced a pregnancy or cared for someone who had a pregnancy. Complications can arise all the way up to the end of the pregnancy,” Daniels said. She used an example from her own pregnancy, which had to be induced, even after her doctor had assured “everything was going well.”

“To sit and think that someone is going through nine months of pregnancy and all of the difficulties that come through, buying a crib, choosing a family name, and then just, for the fun of it, having an abortion is one of the most ridiculous propositions,” Daniels said.

Perry responded by saying that he has a wife and two daughters. “We’ve been through the issue,” he said. He then continued to press Daniels on whether she supports abortion on the day of birth. Daniels responded she would favor an abortion as late as the day of birth, “if the child is going to suffer or the mother is going to die.”    

The new 10th Congressional District

The boundaries for Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District have changed slightly after the state legislature approved new district maps that match new population shifts in the region. Carol Kuniholm, chair of Fair Districts PA, says the districtd picked up a bit of population west of York and in southwestern Cumberland County, but it has otherwise stayed the same.

“The new map actually picks up some more rural Republican townships,” Kuniholm said. “The new map looks like it skews a little bit more towards a pro-Trump vote than a pro-Biden vote.”

The district has 44% registered Republicans and 39% registered Democrats. The largest Democratic registration numbers in the new map are the city of Harrisburg and in York City. 

Kuniholm says the district has a growing number of independent voters. According to October data from the Pennsylvania Department of State, the district has 16.5% voters who do not identify as Democrats or Republicans. According to an analysis by Ballot Pa, independent voter registration grew by 4% between 2017 and 2021.

“The candidate who is going to win is someone who’s going to attract the votes of independents,” she said.

But it is difficult to gauge how independents will vote, said Samuel Chen, GOP political strategist and founder of the Liddell Group.

“It’s hard to know if new independents are independent because of a congressional seat, or because of a senator or governor seat, or because of a national attitude that they are frustrated with their home party, but those are the questions that would tell us what the outcome is going to be,” Chen said.

Daniels said her plan for attracting rural voters is to focus on immigration and improving the migrant worker visa system to help farmers struggling to find workers. 

She also hopes to win over independent voters who lean Democratic and are upset about the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion. The fact that Daniels is the first woman of color to run for this district might also hold some weight with voters.

“I think the difference here will be the fact that they have a candidate that they can identify with, that seems to speak for their community will bring people out that would not normally engage,” Kuniholm said.

Daniels said she has been trying to court Republicans who are disenchanted with Perry, but is not holding out hope for Perry supporters who still support him after the Jan. 6 hearings.

“My strategy hasn’t been to persuade Scott Perry supporters to vote for me,” Daniels said.  “Mine has been to welcome Republicans who are upset about both his ineffectiveness as a congressman and his participation in the January 6th proceedings.”




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