Republican congressional candidate Lisa Scheller, who was leading the 7th District primary, talks to a voter outside of the polling place at Tracy Elementary School in Palmer Township on Tuesday, 5/17/22 (Photos by Donna Fisher for Armchair Lehigh Valley).
By Katherine Reinhard, Tom Shortell, and Robert H. Orenstein
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Republican congressional candidate Lisa Scheller is likely headed to a rematch with Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Susan Wild with unofficial results showing her in the lead for her party’s nomination in a close race in Tuesday’s primary.
The race has national implications as Republicans will look to flip the House to their control, and the 7th District, according to several analyses, leans slightly Republican.
Scheller, a former Lehigh County commissioner and chairman and CEO of Silberline Manufacturing in Schuylkill County, defeated political newcomer Kevin Dellicker of Heidelberg Township by 1,696 votes. The 7th District was redrawn to cover Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties and a small part of Monroe.
There were few differences on issues between the two conservative candidates.
Dellicker, 51, runs his own business and is a 26-year National Guard veteran who served a total of four tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In the campaign, Scheller not only had the advantage of better name recognition but she also far outraised Dellicker.
By contrast, Dellicker’s campaign showed $32,450 in contributions and $23,466 in expenses.
Dellicker said he countered those advantages with a string grassroots campaign. But in the end, he appeared to fall only 1,700 votes short of winning the nomination and had won in Lehigh and Carbon counties.
In a GOP primary battle of incumbents, Rep. Ryan Mackenzie handily defeated fellow Rep. Gary Day in the newly drawn 187th District. Mackenzie, who had represented the 134th District since 2012, lives in Lower Macungie Township, which was shifted into the 187th during the once-a-decade redistricting.
Based on population comparisons, a majority of residents — about 57 percent — from Mackenzie’s current district, the 134th, now live in the new 187th, which likely gave him the advantage.
The contest was costly, with Mackenzie spending $191,989.64, more than twice as much as Day, who spent $86,293.26, according to campaign expense reports for the period ending May 2.
Mackenzie, along with state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who won the GOP gubernatorial primary Tuesday, were two of 64 state senators and representatives who sent a letter in December 2020 to the state’s congressional delegation, urging them to object to Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes for President Joe Biden because of how the election was conducted in the state.
Katherine Reinhard, Tom Shortell, and Robert H. Orenstein are reporters for Armchair Lehigh Valley, a political newsletter, where a version of this story first appeared.
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