(WHTM) – After four decades on voters’ televisions, Janelle Stelson is hoping to change her title from Anchorwoman to Congresswoman.
The former abc27 and WGAL anchor announced this month she would seek the Democratic Party nomination for the 10th Congressional District, setting up a potential match-up with incumbent Republican Congressman Scott Perry.
“My qualifications are that I have been in central Pennsylvania for the past 40 years listening,” said Stelson. “I’ve been telling the stories.”
Michael Manzo, Sr. Vice President of Triad Strategies, says Stelson’s previous career puts her atop the deep list of candidates in the primary.
“It takes candidates a lot of money and airtime to buy name recognition. She’s already got it,” said Manzo. “So I think, she jumps in, I think she’s she’s a front runner.”
Stelson is one of five candidates who have publicly declared their intentions to run, which includes retired Marine Mike O’Brien, Harrisburg City Council Member and 2022 Democratic nominee Shamaine Daniels, and Army veterans Rick Coplen and Bob Forbes.
Several others are expected to enter the race in the coming weeks and months.
The Perry campaign hasn’t acknowledged the other candidates by name, but did with Stelson, saying in part, “Ms. Stelson is just one more Democrat auditioning to be Joe Biden’s running mate in the district.”
Perry, a darling of conservatives, has won six straight terms in Congress. Stelson knows there are more Republicans but notes Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro won the district by 12 points in November 2022.
“This is what I call a thinking district, which I really like,” said Stelson. “It’s not just a bunch of lever pullers.”
Stelson, who was recently registered as a Republican before changing parties, currently lives adjacent to the 10th Congressional District.
“Right now, I’m just trying to launch my campaign,” said Stelson when asked if she’ll move to the district. She said she’s previously lived in Camp Hill and New Cumberland.
“I don’t think anybody can make the argument that I don’t know the 10th in and out,” she said.
“I think people are going to want her to say she’s going to move into the district,” said Christopher Nicholas with Eagle Consulting.
Manzo says the only downside for Democrats having such a crowded primary field is the price tag, saying in a general election Perry “will be well-funded.”
Pennsylvania voters still don’t know when they’ll vote in the April primary as state lawmakers fight over whether to make it April 2 or April 23.