Lehigh Valley Voter's Guide: Local Races
Welcome to the LehighValleyNews.com 2022 General Election Voter's Guide.
This guide is a comprehensive tool available to help readers make informed decisions at the polls. As part of our coverage, you'll find a full review of the key state and local races on the ballot, including the candidates for the U.S. Senate, where Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz are vying to replace two-term fiscal conservative Pat Toomey.
The Pennsylvania governor's race is another one to watch closely, with Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano in a fight to replace outgoing Gov. Tom Wolf. That race is considered “one of the most consequential in the country,” according to the New York Times, with Mastriano vowing to ban abortion without exceptions if he wins.
Finally, with several lawmakers in the state legislature now running in a different district, elections in our area will alter how both chambers look in the future.
Not every candidate listed on your ballot will be listed in this guide, which focuses on the established frontrunners. Find your sample ballot for your county & district below.
On February 4, 2022, the Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission voted to approve new state House and Senate maps in a process known as redistricting. The new maps are taking effect for the 2022 legislative elections.
14th State Senate District
Population growth in the Lehigh Valley netted the region a new Senate seat for 2023. In the newly drawn Pennsylvania State Senate 14th District, Democrat Nick Miller faces Republican Dean Browning. Miller is a fifth-generation Allentown resident, vice president of the Allentown School Board and serves on the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. His campaign priorities include women’s rights, education and the economy.
Browning, a former Lehigh County commissioner, is running on what his website describes as a “commonsense agenda” for Pennsylvania. It addresses inflation, police funding, educational choice and a “culture of life” that opposes taxpayer funding of abortions.
The 14th District previously included all of Carbon County and parts of Luzerne County, but new boundaries now include parts of 20 municipalities in both Lehigh and Northampton counties, including much of Allentown.
State Senate 18th District
Boscola is seeking a 7th term in a district with brand-new boundaries. It now includes much of Northampton County, including the Slate Belt, and part of Bethlehem in Lehigh County. According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of State, it has the second-highest number of independent voters among all senatorial districts.
Boscola touts herself as an independent voice in state politics, and throughout her legislative career has worked to make property tax reform a reality, supporting the total elimination of the school property tax.
Merhottein, a Marine veteran and Bethlehem Township commissioner, says on his website he’s running to make the community a better place to live, work and raise a family and that he believes the government needs a new direction to better serve taxpayers.
State Senate 16th District
In what is sure to be a heavily watched race in the Pennsylvania State Senate’s 16th district, Democrat Mark Pinsley and Republican Jarrett Coleman are vying to replace longtime State Sen. Pat Browne.
Coleman, a political newcomer, pulled off a huge upset when he defeated Browne in the primary, effectively ending the incumbent's 28-year tenure in Harrisburg. Now, Coleman has the task of convincing voters he’s the right man for the job while running on a platform of growing economic opportunity, protecting taxpayers and ensuring fiscal responsibility.
Pinsley is a veteran, small businessman and is currently serving as Lehigh County Controller. Prior to his election in 2019, he had served as a South Whitehall Township Commissioner. His website lists his key issues as reducing property taxes and ensuring the smart growth of communities.
State House 134th District
In the Pa. House, redistricting has moved State Rep. Peter Schweyer into the 134th District, which includes south Allentown, Emmaus and parts of Salisbury Township. He’ll seek reelection against Republican challenger Brent Labenberg.
Schweyer is a former Allentown councilman and has spent the last eight years as a state representative. His campaign lists school funding as a top priority, seeking fair implementation of the fair funding formula for schools. He also believes in a woman's right to choose and that the government has no right in come between an individual and their personal health.
Labenberg has served on Emmaus Borough Council for 25 years, including seven as council president. He is a lifelong resident of the borough and a Navy veteran. Labenberg said in a recent debate he is pro-life and supports Senate Bill 106, which is a constitutional amendment that would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions. (Currently, abortions in the state are not paid for by taxpayers).
State House 22nd District
In the new 22nd District, Democrat Joshua Siegel and Republican Robert E. Smith will face off for an open seat, becoming Allentown’s third representative in the state House (the city had two representatives until redistricting, with the 22nd encompassing parts of Allentown and Salisbury Township).
Smith is a former Allentown City Council member and spent 16 years on the Allentown School Board, but this the highest office he’s run for, he said at a recent community meeting on Allentown’s east side. At that meeting, he noted he is a practicing Catholic but said he would not support changes to abortion law or vote to ban the right to an abortion in Pennsylvania. Days later, he attended a rally for Mastriano and told LehighValleyNews.com he supports Mastriano’s pro-life stance.
Siegel is a member of Allentown City Council and also serves as chief of staff for Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley. He made waves recently when he proposed ordinances in Allentown that would seek to prevent restrictions on abortion access. He has also spoken openly about an affordability crisis for housing and wants education funding to go through the fair funding formula.
State House 131st District
In the 131st District, which covers parts of Lehigh, Northampton and Montgomery counties, incumbent State Rep. Milou Mackenzie is looking for a second term in Harrisburg. She has come under fire for supporting House Bill 2813, a bill regulating classroom instruction that is more restrictive than Florida’s “don’t say gay” law.
Her opponent, Democrat Kevin Branco, touts himself as a 4th generation business owner and lifelong resident of the Lehigh Valley. He supports LGBTQ rights, wants to reduce school property taxes and says he is committed to taking on special interest groups and fighting for the community.
State House 132nd District
Among other changes affecting Lehigh Valley voters, longtime Democratic Rep. Mike Schlossberg is the incumbent in the 132nd District, which has new boundaries with the inclusion of all South Whitehall Township and portions of Upper Macungie Township. Schlossberg has continually focused his efforts on advancing mental health care and recently attended a White House summit on mental health issues. Over the summer, he also introduced his HOPE for PA initiative to invest $100 million to address the growing mental health crisis across Pennsylvania.
Schlossberg will face Bethney Finch, Founder of Freedom For Choice, who won enough write-in votes during the primary to be the Republican nominee. Matt Schutter, a township elections judge, is listed as the Libertarian nominee.
State House 137th District
Emrick has served in the state House since 2011 and is the majority deputy whip. In July, he authored a House bill providing protection to property taxpayers that received bi-partisan support by a vote of 199-1. Since taking office, he has also been a big supporter of legislation that monitors the Commonwealth's use of sewage sludge by land application.
Thomas, a Bethlehem school board member, was born and raised in Bethlehem Township and grew up in a family of immigrants from Malaysia and India. According to her website, she sees a stronger education policy as the key to creating greater economic opportunity. Her campaign is backed by Run for Something, an organization that “recruits and supports young, diverse progressives to run for down-ballot races in order to build sustainable power for Democrats in all 50 states.”
State House 138th District
In the 138th District, serving parts of Northampton County, Republican incumbent Ann Flood is running for her second term in the state House. She is pro-life and touts a broad range of private sector and not-for-profit experience. She is focused on controlling the cost of healthcare and funding Pennsylvania’s schools.
Democrat Gene Hunter earned his spot on the ballot by winning the primary as a write-in. On his Facebook page, he says women deserve to make decisions about their bodies. He says he’ll protect this and the rights to a healthy environment if voters send him to Harrisburg.
- 133rd District: Jeanne McNeill (incumbent, D-Lehigh)
- 35th District: Steve Samuelson (incumbent, D-Northampton)
- 136th District: Robert Freeman (incumbent, D-Northampton)
- 183rd District: Zach Mako (incumbent, R-Lehigh/Northampton)
- 187th District: Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh/Berks) defeated fellow Republican Gary Day in the primary after redistricting moved them both into the same district.