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Lehigh Valley Election News

Scheller, Wild face off in rematch for Lehigh Valley congressional seat

U.S. House Office of Photography
U.S. Rep Susan Wild (left) and Republican challenger Lisa Scheller (right). (Courtesy photos)

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lehigh Valley residents could determine the future of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda and control of the U.S. House of Representatives when they cast their vote in the highly competitive race for Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District.

Two years ago, incumbent Democrat Susan Wild eked out a narrow victory over Republican challenger Lisa Scheller by a 51.8% to 48.1% margin. Wild’s victory contributed to Democrats’ slim 10-seat majority in the House of Representatives. That toehold on power allowed Democrats to pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan stimulus package and authorize $550 billion in new infrastructure spending.

This year sees a rematch between the two candidates, and the stakes may be even higher. Both major parties have pumped millions of dollars into the race, viewing the swing district as critical to their chances of controlling the House.

  • Both major parties have pumped millions of dollars into the race for Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District.
  • The campaign is a rematch between Democratic incumbent Susan Wild and Republican challenger Lisa Scheller.
  • The two will debate Friday, Oct. 21 on PBS39 and be simulcast on C-SPAN and 91.3 WLVR.

The Candidates

Neither candidate should be a stranger to voters. Wild first rose to prominence as the solicitor to Allentown, where she guided the city during the investigation and prosecution of then-Mayor Ed Pawlowski for corruption. Investigators cleared her of any wrongdoing and praised her cooperation with the inquiry. She resigned in 2017 to run for Congress the following year. Wild defeated Olympic medalist Marty Nothstein in 2018, becoming the first Democrat to represent the Lehigh Valley in 20 years and the first woman to represent the region in Congress.

Wild campaigns as a moderate, and she has a record of reaching across the aisle to sponsor legislation with Republican colleagues on common ground issues. Few of these bills, however, make it out of committee. On bills that come up for votes, Wild consistently votes with Democratic leadership. ProPublica found her voting record matched House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s this term; the term prior, they voted in lockstep 98% of the time.

Scheller is the president of Silberline Manufacturing, the Tamaqua-based business her grandfather started 75 years ago. Scheller highlights her decades leading the global corporation among her bona fides, saying she has the experience and business sense to create jobs and improve the economy.

Silberline, which makes aluminum-effect pigments used in products ranging from auto paint to packaging, has landed in the middle of her campaign. Scheller’s opponents in the primary and general election have accused Silberline of shipping manufacturing jobs overseas. Scheller denies she has outsourced jobs to foreign countries, but the company’s workforce in Carbon and Schuylkill counties has shrunk while its workforce abroad has grown.

The Republican candidate served as a Lehigh County commissioner from 2012 to 2016, acting as board chair for two years. During her tenure, she led a Republican block of legislators that passed a series of small tax cuts.

Her larger political impact may be as a financier. She and her family bankrolled the campaigns of Republican candidates at the county level during the 2010s. She’s also been an active donor to political action committees and Republican candidates at the state and national levels, giving away more than $250,000 over the past 20 years, according to the website Open Secrets.

Scheller Wild Oct 6 debate
Tom Shortell
Republican Lisa Scheller (center) and Democrat Susan Wild thank their supporters on Oct. 6, 2022 as Business Matters host Tony Iannelli looks on. The trio just finished filming the first debate for Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District at Muhlenberg College.

The Issues


Scheller supports anti-abortion legislation, though she has made room for some exceptions. During the primary, she supported exceptions to save the life of a mother. During the run-up to the general election, she’s supported exceptions for rape and incest. Nevertheless, Scheller has also said she supports criminalizing abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Wild supports expanding abortion rights beyond what was previously granted under Roe v Wade. During a debate this month, she backed allowing abortions during the third trimester, saying the government needs to let women and their doctors handle medical decisions.

Wild also voted for a bill that would have protected healthcare providers and others who assisted women seeking an abortion outside of their home state. Several states that have passed stricter abortion laws have made it a crime to help women secure abortions elsewhere. The bill passed the House but has not come up for a vote in the Senate.

The Economy

Wild voted for the CHIPS and Science Act, a bipartisan bill that created $54 billion in subsidies to grow and modernize America’s semiconductor industry and invested $169.9 billion in research and science. She also voted for the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act, a bill that criminalized selling gas at “unconscionably excessive” prices during an emergency. Congress passed the bill after oil companies saw record profits when gas prices spiked earlier this year, but every Republican and a handful of moderate Democrats voted against it.

Scheller blames Biden and Democrats in Congress for the nation’s steep inflation, saying "trillions of dollars in new spending" has thrown the economy off-kilter. If elected, Scheller has vowed to reduce spending and lower taxes. She’s pointed to her leadership of Silberline as proof of her business acumen.

Climate Change

Scheller has provided few specifics on how she would address climate change. However, she has been a vocal critic of Biden’s efforts to switch to alternate energy sources such as wind and solar. Scheller argues those sources cannot yet meet America’s demands, which forces Americans to import oil from problematic nations. She instead calls for an “all of the above” energy approach that includes fossil fuels produced in the US.

Wild backs the Paris Agreement, a global treaty where nations vowed to reduce their carbon emissions. In November, she voted in favor of the Build Back Better Act, saying much of its $1.7 trillion price tag would have gone toward boosting renewable energy. The bill eventually passed as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which invested $391 billion toward renewable energy and combating climate change.

Gun Control

Wild voted for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which extended background checks for people under 21, provided funding for states with “red flag” laws, and closed loopholes that allowed people convicted of domestic abuse to retain firearms.

Scheller has been endorsed by the NRA Victory Fund. On her website, she said she will oppose any measure that will infringe on Second Amendment rights.