An image used at the end of Rep. Scott Perry’s (R-York) last ad grabbed headlines and elicited a powerful response from the Democrat George Scott’s campaign.
The incumbent Republican Congressman has often hit Scott on healthcare issues, attempting to tie him in with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and “socialized medicine” in the United Kingdom. The spot ends with a 29-year old picture of Scott, then a captain in the U.S. Army, pointing a gun at what appeared to be the head of a captive.
The ad begins by asking, “What do we really know about George Scott?” followed by connecting Scott to Pelosi and “radical socialized medicine.”
The ad concludes with the image in question and reiterating, “But how well do we really know George Scott? Clearly not well at all.”
PennLive reported that the “captive,” portraying dictator Manuel Noriega wearing a Panamanian forces hat, was former first sergeant in the U.S. Army Yancy Stermer. Stermer said it was a joke, that the image was part of a videotape being sent to their families back at Fort Bragg, during a “lighthearted time” when “everybody was in good spirits.” The Scott campaign says the gun was unloaded.
Scott Campaign Manager Jason O’Malley blasted Perry for this image.
“This is a calculated misrepresentation of George Scott in an 11th-hour desperate attempt to invoke fear and doubt amongst voters. It is disgraceful that Scott Perry claims this doctored photo contributes to veteran suicide, and that a military officer would politicize the suicide of our soldiers,” O’Malley said. “Scott Perry is nothing more than a fear-mongering obstructionist with a well-documented criminal history for polluting our environment and community with dangerous chemicals.”
The Scott campaign believes the photo is “doctored” because of the black circle over the face of Stermer, who they say has no problem being identified. The Scott campaign says the photo shows Stermer “clearly smiling” while portraying Noriega.
The Perry campaign defended their use of the image in the ad, which they say is “very disturbing.”
“The picture in question is a very disturbing and reckless image of George Scott pointing a gun at someone’s head,” said Brian Nutt, Perry campaign spokesman. “Despite the Scott campaign’s nonchalant attitude towards the picture, voters need to know the truth about who George Scott really is.”
Other GOP officials in the district followed up their support for the image used in the ad in a PennLive story as well, stating the image shows just, “how different they are.”
The newly drawn 10th district went to President Trump by close to 10 points.
This morning, the Cook Political Report moved the race from Leans Republican to Toss Up.
FiveThirtyEight currently has the race listed as the second closest Congressional matchup in the state and as Leans Republican.