Former Vice President Joe Biden stumped for congressional candidate George Scott at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg on Sunday, where he and Democratic politicians from across the state tried to drum up voter turnout just two days before the midterm elections.
In a 20-minute speech, the Scranton native cast the race in Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district as a referendum on national politics, including threats to the Affordable Care Act and the rise of nationalism from the right.
“The character of our nation is on the ballot this Tuesday,” Biden said. “We have to reset the moral compass of this nation, and choose hope over fears, unity over division, and truth over lies.”
Biden says that a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives will be key to preserving Social Security and Medicare, which he fears will be on the chopping block in the next budget cycle.
Scott is campaigning to unseat Republican incumbent Scott Perry and represent Pennsylvania’s newly redrawn 10th district in Congress.
If he succeeds, he’ll be Harrisburg’s first Democratic member of Congress since 2011, when redistricting efforts by a Republican-controlled legislature took the city out of Rep. Tim Holden’s district and split it between two districts controlled by Republicans.
This year’s race is the first one under Pennsylvania’s new congressional map, which was redrawn this year after the State Supreme Court ruled that the 2011 districts were gerrymandered to favor Republicans.
The new map, which was unveiled in February, has led to more energetic and highly contested races across the state. As many as seven districts across in Pennsylvania could flip, according to political observers.
Pennsylvania’s 10th district is one of them. Perry was reelected by landslide margins in his last three re-election bids, but recent polls put Scott and Perry in a statistical tie.
“At the beginning of this race, few people thought we could win,” Scott said. “That has changed.”
State Rep. Patty Kim, who is up for re-election on Tuesday, also recognized the role of the new map in reenergizing Pennsylvania’s congressional races. She was one of eight Democrats who preceded Biden to the stage during today’s two-hour rally.
Gov. Tom Wolf and his running mate, John Fetterman, who are favored to beat their Republican opponents on Tuesday, also gave remarks before Scott himself took the stage.
A Lutheran minister who completed a 20-year career in the U.S. Army, Scott took a leave from his congregation in East Berlin, Pa., to run for Congress on a staunch Democratic platform.
Scott does not have political experience, but his opponent’s voting record has given him plenty of fodder for the campaign trail.
Perry, who has one of the most conservative voting records in Congress, supports most policy proposals from the Trump administration. He’s voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, supports building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and opposes federal minimum wage hikes.
Scott has called out Perry’s vote against the ACA on the campaign trail, casting it as a vote to repeal protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. Perry has since come out in support of legislation to preserve the pre-existing conditions mandate.
Polls across Harrisburg open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and close at 8 p.m. Voters can find their polling places here.