Exclusive: New ad campaign hits Pa. Rep. Perry over background checks vote | Wednesday Morning Coffee

House Homeland Security Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Scott Perry makes opening remarks during a hearing on "critical canine contributions to the DHS mission’" in Washington, D.C., May 18, 2017. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Photo by Glenn Fawcett

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

The anti-gun violence group Everytown for Gun Safety, joined by its activist wing, Moms Demand Action, is diving into one of the country’s most hotly contested congressional contests, as it launches a new ad buy hitting incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, of Pennsylvania, for his vote last year against a popular bill mandating universal background checks on gun purchases.

The ads, which begin launching Thursday, are timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the 240-190 vote by the majority-Democrat House on the background checks bill. The bill remains mired in the majority-Republican U.S. Senate.

Eight of Pennsylvania’s nine Republican U.S. House members voted against the measure. U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District, crossed over to vote with all nine of Pennsylvania’s Democratic House delegation.

In a statement, Everytown highlighted the broad-based popularity of background checks, noting that “background checks on all gun sales are proven to save lives and [are] associated with decreased rates of homicide, suicide, and gun trafficking. They are also immensely popular, supported by 93 percent of American voters, 89 percent of Republicans, and 87 percent of gun owners.”

Image from the Everytown ad campaign

A sample text of the Facebook ad for the weeklong digital and print campaign reads: “Your Congressman Scott Perry had a choice to help reduce gun violence and save lives, and he chose to side with the gun lobby. Send him a message now to tell him you’re extremely disappointed in his vote.”

Everytown is spending $11,000 in Pennsylvania on its Pennsylvania digital ad buy. It’s part of a larger, $300,000 nationwide campaign to mark the anniversary of the House vote and the Senate’s inaction on the measure.

“This life-saving legislation has been sitting on [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell’s desk, untouched, for a year,” Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action said in a statement. “In that time, it’s estimated that more than 38,000 Americans have been killed by gun violence, and twice as many have been wounded. Yet McConnell has refused to act. So this week, we’re sending a message to McConnell and his gun lobby allies: If you don’t act, we’ll work to elect a gun sense Senate that will.”

(Josh Locatis/Flickr)

On his official House websitePerry says Congress “must be extremely cautious when deciding to limit or remove any of them, which should happen only after the completion of thorough due process; anything less sets a dangerous precedent in allowing the federal government to further encroach upon the rights and civil liberties of private citizens.” 

He adds that “criminals who fail to obey laws in the first place certainly don’t/won’t heed new laws. Attempting to stop acts of violence by banning firearms doesn’t address the root cause of the violence.” He also underlines his support for “significant improvements to our mental health system, which may prevent those who perpetrate these senseless acts of violence.”

Tom Brier, a Hershey attorney, speaks at a fundraiser on Monday, February 10 in Lower Paxton, PA outside Harrisburg. He is running to win the Democratic nomination for the 10th Congressional District. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

Perry, a four-term incumbent from York County, is running for re-election this fall in central Pennsylvania’s redrawn 10th Congressional District. The seat, which includes parts of Dauphin and Cumberland counties, is far more purple than it once was. Perry narrowly survived a 2018 re-election challenge from Democrat George Scott.

This year, Perry will face the winner of a two-way Democratic primary contest between Hershey attorney Tom Brier, a political newcomer, and two-term state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, also of York County.

DePasquale, who’s term-limited out of office, has lined up support from Democratic establishment sources, while Brier has run a grassroots campaign that’s leveraged the support of youth voters.

Our Stuff.
Stephen Caruso has the results from Tuesday night’s special election for Philadelphia’s 190th House District.

Caruso also has what you need to know about Tuesday night’s Democratic debate in central Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District between lawyer Tom Brier, of Hershey, and two-term Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. The winner of the April 28 primary contest faces GOP U.S. Rep. Scott Perry in the fall.

Elizabeth Hardison caught a budgetary back-and-forth between an Erie lawmaker and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board over the steps the regulatory agency is taking to spruce up aging state stores in urban centers.

It was just another day of theater at Pennsylvania’s Charter School Appeal Board Tuesday, where a board vote to deny an application by a Reading-based charter bellyflopped because two members were no longer on the conference call that they were using to attend the meeting. Hardison has the story there, too.

Speaking of ad campaigns, the Democratic super-PAC Priorities USA has launched its first TV ad campaign in Pennsylvania and other battleground states, Associate Editor Cassie Miller reports.

On our Commentary Page, opinion regular Bruce Ledewitz has a few thoughts on Vox main-man Ezra Klein’s new book ‘Why We’re Polarized,’ and offers up his own theory on the same question. And retired NWPA newspaper editor Denny Bonavita reflects on 20 years of covering someone who will soon join him in retirement: Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson.

From our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune: Former Philadelphia City Councilmember Blondell Reynolds Brown has changed her mind, and now says she’s going to take a plush city retirement package after all. And Philadelphia’s finances might not be strong enough to ride out severe recession, officials and a government watchdog warned.

The Philadelphia Skyline from the ‘Rocky Steps’ at the Philly Art Museum. (Photo by Steve Lange, courtesy of Flickr Commons.)

Elsewhere.
The first supervised injection site in the county is set to open in South Philadelphia next week, the Inquirer reports.
Protesters gathered outside Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s Pittsburgh office Tuesday to call on him to pardon more people serving life sentencesPittsburgh City Paper has the story.
PennLive’s ‘Battleground PA’ podcast considers whether President Donald Trump should be worried about the coronavirus economy.
A new poll shows President Donald Trump trailing the 2020 Dems in Erie, but the race is tight, the Times-News reports.

Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

WHYY-FM zooms in on the Democratic primary race in Bucks County’s 1st Congressional District.
The PA Post looks at the impact that Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to raid the state’s horse-racing fund to pay for college grants could have on one Adams County farm
PoliticsPA’s 
readers say Pennsylvania should move its April 28 primary date.
Stateline.org looks at how Rhode Island has decided to treat drug addicted prison inmates.
Was that a debate or brawl in Charleston, S.C. on Tuesday? Roll Call runs down the results.

What Goes On.
Another day, another round of budget hearings. Once again, into the breach:

House (140MC):
10 a.m.: 
Dept. of Community & Economic Development
1 p.m.:  Dept. of Agriculture
3 p.m.: Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency/State Fire Commissioner

Senate (Hearing Room 1, North Office Building):
10 a.m.: 
Dept. of Human Services
3 p.m.: Dept. of Health

WolfWatch.
Gov. Tom Wolf
 heads to Bucks County for a 10 a.m. stop at Pennsbury High School, where he’s set to talk about his proposed $200 million college grant program.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
6 p.m.: 
Reception for Rep. Mike Peifer
6 p.m.: Reception for Washington County Commissioner Nick Sherman
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out a mere $6,000 today.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a bit of news that recently made this very bizarre winter complete: It’s new music from veteran Canadian pop-rockers Glass Tiger. The tune is ‘This is Your Life.’

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Toronto rebounded to beat Tampa 4-3 on Tuesday night. The Leafs’ John Tavares scored twice on the way to the win.

And now you’re up to date.

John L. Micek
A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press