In first ad, Dem DePasquale wants you to go where everybody knows his name | Tuesday Morning Coffee
Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Democratic 10th Congressional District candidate Eugene DePasquale is on the air with his first campaign ad, a biographical spot called “Restaurant,” that punches up his blue-collar roots as the son of a Pittsburgh bar owner.
“I grew up in a bar. My family was working class,” DePasquale says in the 30-second spot filmed inside a bar that should be plenty familiar to thirsty central Pennsylvanians — the Sturges Speakeasy on Forster Street in Harrisburg, across the street from the Capitol.
“When I wasn’t bussing tables, I umpired Little League games and worked as a janitor to pay for college,” he continues, wiping down the bar and pouring suds. “I learned a lot of life lessons from the people in my neighborhood.”
DePasquale told the Capital-Star that his family owned a bar in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood.
It was initially called Allie’s, before it changed its name to the Panther Hollow Inn in 1981. As the name suggests, the bar sat between the campuses of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. It has since closed, his campaign said.
The spot will start airing today in the greater Harrisburg media market, which includes all three counties in the district: Cumberland, Dauphin and York counties, and run through Election Day.
DePasquale’s campaign would only say it was “investing six figures a week,” on the spot, which will air on broadcast and cable outlets in the district, as well as online.
While it doesn’t say it out loud, or mention his name, the ad feels like a deliberate attempt to neutralize some of the working class cred claimed by GOP incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Perry. While overwhelmingly suburban, the district also takes in some of the more rural and blue-collar precincts of Cumberland and York counties.
In a 2018 interview with PennLive, Perry said he grew up the son of a single mother (who eventually remarried); had no relationship to speak of with his birth father, and grew up in a house without electricity or indoor plumbing. In fact, “for a period of several years, Perry has  told campaign audiences, the family lived using a generator for power, taking their water from a pump, and making full use of an outhouse on the property,” PennLive reported.
DePasquale’s spokesperson, Kunal Atit, said the ad was not a “juxtaposition” with Perry’s hardscrabble background.
“This is an introduction to voters in the district who don’t know who Eugene is,” Attit said.
Internal polling by DePasquale’s campaign, made available to the National Journal, showed that after two decades in public life, about two-thirds of voters in the district (63 percent) knew who he was, with a 32-17 percent positive rating.
DePasquale, of York County, served in the state House before winning election as auditor general eight years ago. He’s serving out the constitutional maximum of two terms as the state’s top fiscal watchdog.
The race is one of the most closely watched House contests in the country. Last week, Roll Call rated Perry, also a former state House member from York County, as the 7th most endangered incumbent in the chamber. The Roll Call summary notes that while “Perry has stepped up his fundraising in recent quarters … DePasquale has nearly matched him in cash on hand.”
The June internal polling that DePasquale’s campaign shared with the National Journal showed the race within the margin of error, with Perry leading 50-47 percent, with a 4-point margin.
Speaking of Eugene DePasquale, a conservative watchdog group has filed a campaign finance complaint challenging his campaign spending, Stephen Caruso reports.
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11:30 a.m., Ryan Office Building: Reps. Jesse Topper and Mike Reese drop a bill that would let parents send their kids back to school for an extra year to make up for any missing schooling because of the pandemic.
2 p.m., G50 Irvis: House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on COVID-19 testing.
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8 a.m.: Breakfast for Sen. Scott Hutchinson, R-Venango
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Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’ll be out a relatively inoffensive $1,500 today.
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Tuesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Carolina faces Boston in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff round tonight.
And now you’re up to date.
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John L. Micek