Perry ends campaign for Congress

October 27, 2017 GMT

In a quick turn of events, Paul Perry has dropped out as a Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District seat.

The Norristown native said he was discouraged by the fundraising demands of a congressional campaign to unseat Republican Rep. Pat Meehan.

“As I depart this race, I leave with grave questions about the sustainability of our democracy,” said Perry, a former executive director at the Reset Foundation, former teacher at Shaw Middle School in Southwest Philadelphia and a Teach for America Philadelphia alum.

“I have now determined that running for elected office, at this moment, is not the best way for me to serve,” Perry said in a statement on his campaign website. “As such, I am suspending my campaign for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania’s Seventh District effective immediately.”

Last week Perry was scheduled to host a town hall at VFW Post 3460 in Media.

“We need a new kind of politics in Washington — a politics that cares about everyday folks and the concerns on their hearts and minds,” Perry said in a statement. “That’s why this town hall is the first of many I plan to hold during my campaign and as your member of Congress, should I be honored enough to serve in that capacity.”

By week’s end, the former New York City school design fellow, scholar and writer had decided to dedicate his “energies towards better supporting” his family, specifically his “aging father who is especially dear to me,” Perry said.

“I will continue my social impact leadership work by directly supporting nonprofits, schools and other social ventures doing transformative work in communities around the country.”

“I will continue to contribute to our national public discourse as a writer wherever my voice is needed. In the future, I may consider seeking public office again, or I may not,” Perry said.

Perry, a former staffer for then-Sen. Barack Obama, was adopted by two gay fathers, both military veterans, after his mother gave birth to him while imprisoned. Believing that running for U.S. Congress was the “next step” in his professional “arc of service,” Perry wanted to “bring human connection and compassion back into the halls of government.”

Perry said campaigning is “awash in money and influence-peddling on both sides of the aisle.”

“The barriers to entry for everyday citizens (most of the middle class) and true public servants are far too high. We must come to grips with the reality of our current plutocracy and how unrepresentative representation poisons our politics and the resulting policies,” said Perry, admitting he “struggled mightily with the fundraising culture inherent to our current politics.”

“Together, we must confront the ways in which our economic system distorts and endangers our political system,” Perry said.

He expressed gratitude to Brandon Chaderton, Jorge Contreras, Maura Fortino, Allison Kruk and “everyone else who hosted and attended our house parties, knocked on doors with us, made phone calls, donated, shared our content on social media, and generally gave a damn about this race and the people of Pa.’s 7th District.”

“We changed the conversation for the better and hopefully made our colleagues in the race better candidates. I know I am a better person for having gone through this experience, and my sincere hope is that our community is better off as well,” said Perry, who intends to continue working “hand-in-hand with families struggling to make ends meet on a daily basis.

“Keep loving each other and fighting for a better future for our families,” he said.