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Lehigh Valley Election News

Primary Election 2024: A guide to the Lehigh Valley's contested campaigns and candidates

The 2024 primary features races for president, Congress and the Pennsylvania statehouse.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — The 2024 election season will be another high-profile contest with the White House, Congress and state House seats up for grabs.

And the Lehigh Valley will once again be in the thick of it.

Some of those campaigns will come into sharper focus Tuesday when primary voters head to the polls to select their preferred candidates for the November races.

Locally, registered Republicans and Democrats will weigh in on campaigns for the U.S. House, the Pennsylvania House and state row officers.

Here's a breakdown of the races on the ballot:

Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Susan Wild is seeking her fourth term representing the Lehigh Valley and is unchallenged in the Democratic primary.

But on Tuesday, Republicans will pick one of three candidates to challenge her in the November election — Kevin Dellicker, an intelligence officer with the Air National Guard; Ryan Mackenzie, a state representative serving his 12th year in office; or Maria Montero, who served in former Gov. Tom Corbett's administration.

The Republican candidates in March visited the Univest Public Media Center, where they spoke about reproductive rights, foreign affairs, the economy, congressional spending and border security.

They've also sparred in debates and on the campaign trail, where they've highlighted their experiences and backgrounds.

PA 7 Republican candidates
Ryan Mackenzie, Maria Montero and Kevin Dellicker (pictured, left to right) are the Republican candidates running for the U.S. House Pennsylvania District 7.

Mackenzie has emphasized his experience winning elections and his record in Harrisburg. Dellicker underscored his military background and foreign affairs chops. Montero has focused her attention on kitchen table matters such as high costs and public safety.

The district covers all of Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties and a sliver of southwest Monroe County. The district is split nearly down the middle between registered Democrats and Republicans.

Political observers expect it to be one of a handful of toss-up congressional races this fall.

State auditor general race

Republican state Auditor General Tim Defoor is seeking a second term in office and is unchallenged in the GOP primary.

Democrats will pick his challenger Tuesday when they decide between state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia, and Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley.

The auditor general serves as Pennsylvania's financial watchdog, reviewing contracts and protocols to ensure tax dollars are being spent appropriately.

In office and on the campaign trail, Pinsley has placed greater emphasis on non-traditional audits.

One such audit uncovered unusually high diagnoses of medical child abuse by Lehigh Valley Health Network. The findings have paved the way for multiple lawsuits from families alleging their children were wrongly removed from their custody. Lehigh County also has changed how it reviews allegations of medical child abuse.

Kenyatta, who lost the Democratic primary race to John Fetterman for U.S. Senate in 2022, has also campaigned on outside-the-box audits. He's called for the creation of a Bureau of Labor and Worker Protections to take on wage theft, employee misclassification, and union busting.

State attorney general race

There are open primaries in both parties for the job of Pennsylvania's top law enforcement officer. Michelle Henry, who Gov. Josh Shapiro appointed after he vacated the position, is not running for her own term.

The Democratic primary features former Philadelphia Chief Public Defender Keir Bradford-Grey, former Bucks County Solicitor Joe Khan, former Auditor General Gene DePasquale, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer and state Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Philadelphia.

The Republican primary pits York County District Attorney David Sunday against state Rep. Craig Williams, R-Delaware.

State treasurer

Republican State Treasurer Stacy Garrity is seeking a second term as Pennsylvania's top elected money manager. She is uncontested on the GOP ticket.

Two Democrats are competing in the primary for the right to challenge her in the fall — state Rep. Ryan Bizarro, D-Erie, and Erin McClelland, a former substance abuse counselor from western Pennsylvania who works for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.

Democratic primary for the 131st House District

The Democratic primary along the southern reaches of the Lehigh Valley pits two relative newcomers to local politics against one another.

Jay Santos is serving in his first year as a Saucon Valley School Board director, while journalist Meriam Sabih is making her first campaign for public office.

Santos focused his campaign on reproductive rights, infrastructure and homelessness. Sabih did not make herself available for an interview.

The winner is expected to face Republican incumbent state Rep. Milou Mackenzie.

The district covers Coopersburg; Lower Milford, Upper Milford and Upper Saucon townships; portions of Lower Saucon and Salisbury townships and the northeast corner of Montgomery County.

Democratic primary for the 136th House District

Easton City Councilwoman Taiba Sultana is campaigning to unseat state Rep. Robert Freeman. Freeman has been a mainstay of Easton politics for 40 years, and he's earned a reputation around the state for his expertise in zoning and planning laws.

Sultana in turn has argued it's time for a new generation of leaders to take the helm. If elected, she's said she would focus on women's rights and assisting people living paycheck to paycheck.

Sultana's campaign has been marred by several controversies, including peculiarities about her petition's signatures and criminal charges for an alleged domestic assault. Sultana is currently going through ARD, a pre-trial intervention program.

The district includes Easton, Freemansburg, Glendon, Hellertown, West Easton, Wilson, Williams Township, the eastern part of Lower Saucon Township and southern part of Palmer Township.

With no Republican challenger on the ballot, the winner of the Democratic primary is likely to win in November.

Republican primary for the 183rd House District

Slatington Borough Councilman Zachari Halkias is challenging state Rep. Zachary Mako in the region's most conservative state House district. Mako, a helicopter pilot with the National Guard, did not respond to interview requests from multiple media outlets across the region.

Halkias said he got involved in local politics after growing frustrated with COVID-19 policies interfering with public lives. If elected, he said, he would support fiscally responsible budgets and advocate for problem-free elections.

The district includes Bath, North Catasauqua, Northampton, Slatington and Walnutport; Allen, East Allen, Lehigh, Lowhill and North Whitehall townships and the western portion of Moore Township.

The winner will face Democrat Joseph Lenzi in November, who is uncontested on his side of the ticket.

President and U.S. Senate

While they're the biggest contests on the ballot this spring, the presidential and Senate races will be dull affairs Tuesday.

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have already secured their party's nominations.

Similarly, Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race is all but a formality. Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey and Republican challenger David McCormick are the only candidates on the ballots.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Mail-in ballots must either have reached the county election office or a drop box by 8 p.m. Tuesday to be counted.