As long as the last quarter of 2019 is not an anomaly, then the Congressional race in the Lehigh Valley is shaping up to be the most expensive race in the state.
Rep. Susan Wild’s (D-Lehigh) campaign raised $520,000 from the beginning of October to the end of December, while spending just over $100,000 during this time period. Her fourth quarter haul is her best of 2019, besting her previous high by $165K from the second quarter.
While three Republicans are currently vying for their party’s nomination, Lisa Scheller, a former Lehigh County Commissioner and businesswoman who has received the endorsement from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), boasted the strongest numbers of any candidate seeking the 7th Congressional District, in large part due to a loan she’s given her campaign.
Scheller’s campaign raised $550,000 from the beginning of October to the end of December, while spending just under $120,000 during that time period. While the $550,000 is the largest of any candidate seeking this seat in one quarter in 2019, $300,000 of it was from a loan Scheller gave to her campaign. She entered 2020 with just over $430,000 cash on hand.
The next closest Republican, Dean Browning, has also invested a significant amount of his own money into his campaign.
Browning, a former Lehigh County Commissioner and businessman, raised just over $55,000 from the beginning of October to the end of December, while spending $52,000 during this time period. He loaned his campaign $25,000 during the most recent quarter and has loaned a total of $165,000 during his bid for the GOP nomination. Browning’s campaign, including the various loans, has raised $300,000 in the election cycle-to-date, and entered 2020 with $225,000 cash on hand.
Matt Connolly, a former race car driver and two time GOP candidate for Congress, loaned his campaign $5,000 from the beginning of October to the end of December, while spending $740 during this time period. Connolly’s campaign entered 2020 with $4,260 cash on hand.
During Wild’s 2018 bid for Congress, she consistently outraised her GOP counterpart, Marty Nothstein.
The Cook Political Report currently has the seat held by Wild as “Lean Democratic” for 2020.
Wild is currently one of three Pennsylvania Democrats being targeted by the NRCC’s initial 2020 list, along with Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna) and Conor Lamb (D-Allegheny).