Redrawn districts prompt primary battles in at least five Lehigh Valley House, Senate seats

See who is running and which incumbents have primary challengers on May 17

By: - March 30, 2022 9:09 am

(Capital-Star file)

The May 17 primary is shaping up to be a battleground for at least five Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania House and Senate races thanks to newly drawn maps that were approved by the state Supreme Court.

The maps – required every decade to match population changes found in the U.S. Census – carved out a new 14th Senate District and a new 22nd House District in the Lehigh Valley. Neither district has an incumbent.

The new 14th has drawn three Democrats and three Republicans seeking nominations.

They include Democrats Nicholas Miller, an Allentown School Board member; Yamelisa Taveras, CEO and founder of Unidos; and Tara Zrinski, a Northampton County commissioner.

Republicans running in the 14th are Dean Browning, a former Lehigh County Commissioner; Omy Maldonado, a management consultant; and Cynthia Miller, a Lehigh County supervisor.

The 22nd House seat has three Democrats seeking nominations: Norberto Dominguez Jr., founder of Creative Guild of Citizens; Saeed Georges, who was a member of Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk’s transition team; Joshua Siegel, a member of Allentown City Council.

Robert E. Smith Jr., a former Allentown School Board member, filed a petition on the Republican side.

Meanwhile, State Sen. Pat Browne will have a Republican challenger – Jarrett Coleman, a recently elected member of the Parkland School Board.

The redrawn 187th House district puts two incumbents, Republicans Gary Day, who is in the current 187th, and Ryan Mackenzie, now in the 134th, in the same district.

In the new 134th House district, incumbent Democrat Peter Schweyer will face off against Enid Santiago, co-founder of the nonprofit organization SELF! Women’s Reentry. Emmaus Borough Council President Brent Labenberg is seeking the Republican nomination.

Here’s the rundown of candidates who filed petitions by the 5 p.m. Monday deadline. It’s possible that not all the petitions that met the deadline were posted on the state website.

Senate District 14

Incumbent: None.
Nicholas Miller, D – Allentown; Allentown School Board member
Yamelisa Taveras, D – Allentown; CEO and founder of Unidos
Tara Zrinski, D – Hanover Township; Northampton County commissioner
Dean Browning, R – South Whitehall; former Lehigh County commissioner
Omy Maldonado, R, Allen Township; management consultant
Cynthia Miller, R – Lehigh Township; Lehigh Township supervisor
Municipalities: Lehigh County: Hanover, Salisbury and Whitehall Townships and Catasauqua, Coplay, Emmaus, and Fountain Hill along with parts of South Whitehall Township and Allentown. Northampton County: Allen, Bushkill, East Allen, Hanover, Lehigh and Moore Townships and Bath, Chapman, North Catasauqua, Northampton, and Walnutport.

Senate District 16

Pat Browne, R, Allentown, incumbent
Jarrett Coleman, R – Upper Macungie Township; Parkland School Board member, airline pilot
Mark Pinsely, D, South Whitehall Township; Lehigh County controller

Brown defeated Pinsely in the November 2018 election.
Municipalities: Lehigh County: Heidelberg, Lower Macungie, Lower Milford, Lowhill, Lynn, North Whitehall, Upper Macungie, Upper Milford, Upper Saucon, Washington and Weisenberg townships, Alburtis, Coopersburg, Macungie and Slatington along with parts of South Whitehall Township and Allentown. Bucks County: Bedminster, Bridgeton, Durham, East Rockhill, Haycock, Hilltown, Milford, Nockamixon, Richland, Springfield, Tinicum, and West Rockhill townships and Dublin, Perkasie, Quakertown, Richlandtown, Riegelsville, Sellersville, Silverdale and Trumbauersville along with the Bucks County portion of Telford.

Senate District 18

Lisa Boscola, D – Bethlehem Township, incumbent
John Merhottein Jr., R – Bethlehem Township, township commissioner
Municipalities: Bethlehem, Forks, Lower Mount Bethel, Lower Nazareth, Lower Saucon, Palmer, Plainfield, Upper Mount Bethel, Upper Nazareth, Washington, and Williams townships and Bangor, East Bangor, Easton, Freemansburg, Glendon, Hellertown, Nazareth, Pen Argyl, Portland, Roseto, Stockertown, Tatamy, West Easton, Wilson and Wind Gap in Northampton County. The district also includes all of Bethlehem.

House District 22

No incumbent
Norberto Dominguez Jr., D – Allentown; founder of Creative Guild of Citizens
Saeed Georges, D-Allentown; member of Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk’s transition team
Joshua Siegel, D-Allentown; member of Allentown City Council
Robert E. Smith Jr., R – Allentown, former Allentown School Board member
Municipalities: Parts of Allentown and Salisbury Township.

House District 131

Candidates: Milou Mackenzie, R – Lower Saucon, incumbent
Kevin Branco, D-Upper Saucon Township; owns Main Street gym in Hellertown. The General Election race would be a rematch from 2020.

Municipalities: Lehigh County: Lower Milford, Upper Milford, and Upper Saucon townships and Coopersburg with part of Salisbury Township. Montgomery County: Marlborough, Salford and Upper Hanover townships and East Greenville, Green Lane, Pennsburg, and Red Hill. Northampton County: Parts of Lower Saucon Township.

House District 132

Michael Schlossberg, D, Allentown, incumbent
Bethney Q. Finch, R – South Whitehall; co-chair Moms for Liberty Lehigh County
Municipalities: South Whitehall and parts of Allentown and Upper Macungie Township

House District 133

Municipalities: Catasauqua; Coplay; Fountain Hill; Hanover Township, Lehigh County, and Whitehall Township plus the Lehigh County portion of Bethlehem.
Jeanne McNeill, D – Whitehall Township, incumbent

House District 134

Peter Schweyer, D-Allentown, incumbent
Enid Santiago, D-Allentown; co-founder with the nonprofit organization SELF! Women’s Reentry
The Democratic primary race would be a rematch from 2020, when Schweyer defeated Santiago to be reelected from the 22nd District.
Brent Labenberg, R-Emmaus; president of Emmaus Borough Council
Municipalities: Emmaus and parts of Allentown and Salisbury Township

House District 135

Candidate: Steve Samuelson, D-Bethlehem, incumbent
Municipalities: The Northampton County portion of Bethlehem and parts of Hanover Township, Northampton County

House District 136

Candidate: Robert Freeman, D-Easton, incumbent
Municipalities: Easton, Freemansburg, Glendon, Hellertown, West Easton, Wilson, and Williams Township along with parts of Lower Saucon and Palmer townships

House District 137

Candidates: Joe Emrick, R-Upper Nazareth Township, incumbent
Anna B. Thomas, D-Bethlehem Township
Municipalities: Nazareth, Tatamy and Bethlehem, Lower Nazareth and Upper Nazareth townships along with portions of Hanover and Palmer townships.

House District 138

Candidate: Ann Flood, R-Moore Township, incumbent
Municipalities: Bangor, Chapman, East Bangor, Pen Argyl, Portland, Roseto, Stockertown and Wind Gap and Bushkill, Forks, Lower Mount Bethel, Plainfield, Upper Mount Bethel and Washington townships with parts of Moore Township

House District 183
Zach Mako, R – Walnutport, incumbent
Municipalities: Lehigh County: Lowhill Township, North Whitehall Township, and Slatington. Northampton County: Bath, North Catasauqua, Northampton, and Walnutport and Allen, East Allen, and Lehigh townships along with parts of Moore Township.
House District 187
Incumbent* Gary Day, R-Heidelberg Township
Incumbent* Ryan Mackenzie, R-Lower Macungie Township

*Day is the incumbent in the current formation of the 187th; Mackenzie is the incumbent in the 134th. Both now live in the reconfigured 187th when Lower Macungie was moved to that district.
Municipalities: Heidelberg, Lower Macungie, Lynn, Washington, and Weisenberg townships and Alburtis and Macungie along with parts of Upper Macungie Township.

Katherine Reinhard covers Allentown and the Lehigh Valley for the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. This post first appeared on Armchair Lehigh Valley, a politics newsletter. Readers may follow her on Twitter @KMReinhard.

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Katherine Reinhard
Katherine Reinhard

Katherine Reinhard, a veteran journalist, is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Lehigh Valley Correspondent and a co-editor of Armchair Lehigh Valley, a Substack newsletter focused on politics in the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton region.