By Katherine Reinhard and Robert H. Orenstein
Republican Congressional candidate Lisa Scheller continued to raise more money than her GOP primary opponent Kevin Dellicker in the race to win the Republican nomination in the 7th District, according to the latest campaign expense reports.
As of March 31, Scheller, of Allentown, had $1,244,908 in cash on hand, after raising $414,302 in the first three months of 2022, according to her April quarterly report filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Scheller raised more than 10 times the total of Dellicker’s campaign, which showed $32,450 in contributions and $23,466 in expenses.
Wild ended March with $2,353,061 in cash, up from $1,705,3321 at the beginning of the year.
That’s more than $1 million than what Scheller had on hand on March 31.
The deadline for the reports, which covered Jan. 1 through March 31, was Friday.
Scheller, who lost to Wild in November 2020, listed $273,439 in individual contributions, $79,500 from political action committees, and $57,830 in authorized transfers from other committees, according to the FEC.
The FEC report lists $163,917 in net operating expenses and $610,000 of debt owed by her fundraising committee.
Scheller, the chairperson and CEO of Silberline Manufacturing in Schuylkill County, started 2022 with $1,005,977 in the bank, including $860,000 in loans she previously gave to her campaign.
Her contributions include more than 40 in the amount of $2,900. Individuals can give up to $2,900 in the primary and $2,900 in the general election. Most of those large donations come from outside the Lehigh Valley and include business owners, CEOs, and executives.
Among them are $2,900 each from Chuck Schwab, owner of Charles Schwab; Kenneth Griffin, founder and CEO of the hedge fund Citadel LLC.; and Bruce Toll, principal at Tolls Brothers; and $2,000 from Richard Hocker, founder, CEO, and CIO of Penn Capital Management.
Another $2,900 donor was Samuel Zell, the Chicago billionaire who bought Tribune Co., former owner of The Morning Call, with a $8.2 billion deal and saw the company go into bankruptcy a year later.
Local $2,900 donors include Allentown attorney Blake Marles, John Schneider of Allentown, who is an executive at E. Schneider and Sons, and David Davis of Bethlehem, CEO at HoverTech International.
Many of the individual donations were funneled through WinRed and Friends of GOP Winning Women, which collect and distribute earmarked contributions to candidates. Friends transferred nearly $50,000, according to the report.
Scheller received donations from several political candidates, including $2,000 from House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. Large political action committee donations included $5,000 from the Congressional Leadership Fund, $5,000 from Honor Courage and Commitment, $5,000 from Keystone Alliance, $5,000 from the Republican Party of Bexar County in San Antonio, Texas, and $10,000 each from Eye of the Tiger and Majority Committee.
Dellicker ended the first quarter with $109,236 in the bank, up nearly $9,000 from the $100,252 he had at the start of this year.
That total includes $35,800 in loans he made to his campaign last year. The owner and manager of Dellicker Strategies received contributions from individuals totaling $30,182.
Most dominations ranged from $50 to $1,000; the single largest donation of $2,900 came from Joseph V. Topper Jr., chairman of CrossAmerica Partners, an Allentown company that owns gas station-convenience stores.
Dellicker, of Heidelberg Township, received no financial support from the Republican Party. No political action committees donated to his campaign either in the first three months of this year.
Last November, however, Seal PAC Supporting Electing American Leaders PAC, based in Athens, Georgia, donated $5,000 to his campaign.
Also last year, Dellicker received financial support from one of Lehigh Valley’s most prominent conservatives.
William and Laura Bachenberg, owners of Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays in North Whitehall Township, donated $3,000 and $2,900 respectively.
Before the 2020 election, their business was the site of a rally where Donald Trump Jr. appeared on behalf of his father. A month later, an event supporting guns, then-President Trump and Scheller was held at Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays.
And in January, Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays hosted a rally for U.S. Senate Republican candidate Dave McCormick; U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was the featured speaker.
William Bachenberg was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 House committee for his role in endorsing an alternate slate of electors from Pennsylvania in December 2020 in a failed attempt to switch the state’s electoral votes to President Trump, according to a report by WLVR-FM.
On the campaign expense report, Bachenberg is listed as president of Camp Freedom, which according to its website, helps “American heroes overcome life’s difficulties.” The camp, in Lackawanna County, is for disabled veterans and first responders, their family members, and Gold Star families.
Wild, with no opponent in the Democratic primary, continued increasing her campaign bank account.
The campaign ended March with $2,353,061 in cash, up from $1,705,3321 at the beginning of the year.
The campaign spent $250,259 and collected $906,076: $727,460 in individual contributions, with nearly 40 percent coming via ActBlue, $5,949 from Democratic Party groups, $154,57 from political action committees, and $18,090 from other political committees authorized to collect money for the campaign.
Major PAC donations came from Emily’s List ($14,178); American Israel Public Affairs Committee ($29,436); New Democrat Coalition Action Fund ($12,200); American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO COPE ($5,000); American Federation Of Government Employees ($5,000); DigiDems PAC ($9,200), End Citizens United ($2,500); and Portland Cement Association Inc. ($2,500).
Katherine Reinhard and Robert H. Orenstein are reporters for Armchair Lehigh Valley, where this story first appeared.
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