By Katherine Reinhard and Robert H. Orenstein
Republican congressional candidate Lisa Scheller continued to raise more money than her main GOP opponent, Kevin Dellicker, in the race to win the Republican nomination in the 7th District, according to the latest campaign spending reports.
As of March 31, Schellerof Allentown, had $1,244,908 in cash, after raising $414,302 in the first three months of 2022, according to its April quarterly report report filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Scheller raised more than 10 times Dellicker’s campaign total, which showed $32,450 in contributions and $23,466 in expenses.
Wild ended March with $2,353,061 in cash, up from $1,705,3321 at the start of the year.
That’s more than $1 million than Scheller had on hand on March 31.
The deadline for reports, which covered January 1 to March 31, was Friday.
Scheller, who lost to Wild in November 2020, listed $273,439 in individual contributions, $79,500 from political action committees and $57,830 in authorized transfers from other committees, according to the FEC.
The FEC report lists $163,917 in net operating expenses and $610,000 in debt owed by its fundraising committee.
Scheller, president and CEO of Silberline Manufacturing in Schuylkill County, started 2022 with $1,005,977 in the bank, including $860,000 in loans she previously made to her campaign.
His contributions include more than 40 for an amount of $2,900. Individuals can donate up to $2,900 in the primary and $2,900 in the general election. Most of these major donations come from outside the Lehigh Valley and include business owners, CEOs and executives.
Among them, $2,900 each from Chuck Schwab, owner of Charles Schwab; Kenneth Griffin, founder and CEO of hedge fund Citadel LLC.; and Bruce Toll, director at Tolls Brothers; and $2,000 from Richard Hocker, founder, CEO and CIO of Penn Capital Management.
Another donor of $2,900 was Samuel Zell, the Chicago billionaire who bought Tribune Co., former owner of The Morning Call, in an $8.2 billion deal and watched the company go bankrupt a year later.
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Local donors of $2,900 include Allentown attorney Blake Marles, John Schneider of Allentown, who is an executive at E. Schneider and Sons, and David Davis of Bethlehem, CEO of HoverTech International.
Many individual donations have been channeled through WinRed and Friends of GOP Winning Women, which collect and distribute earmarked contributions to candidates. Friends transferred nearly $50,000, according to the report.
Scheller received donations from several political candidates, including $2,000 from House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. Major donations from the political action committee included $5,000 from the Congressional Leadership Fund, $5,000 from Honor Courage and Commitment, $5,000 from Keystone Alliance, $5,000 from the Bexar County Republican Party in San Antonio, Texas, and $10,000 each from Eye of the Tiger and Majority Committee.
Dellicker ended the first quarter with $109,236 in the bank, up nearly $9,000 from the $100,252 it had at the start of this year.
That total includes $35,800 in loans he made to his campaign last year. The owner and manager of Dellicker Strategies received contributions from individuals totaling $30,182.
Most dominations ranged from $50 to $1,000; the largest donation of $2,900 came from Joseph V. Topper Jr., president of CrossAmerica Partners, an Allentown company that owns gas station convenience stores.
Dellicker, of Heidelberg Township, received no financial support from the Republican Party. No political action committee has donated to his campaign either in the first three months of this year.
Last November, however, Seal PAC Supporting American Leaders Electing PAC, based in Athens, Georgia, donated $5,000 to his campaign.
Also last year, Dellicker received financial support from one of Lehigh Valley’s most prominent curators.
William and Laura Bachenberg, owners of Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays in North Whitehall Township, donated $3,000 and $2,900 respectively.
Prior to the 2020 election, their business was the site of a rally where Donald Trump Jr. appeared on behalf of his father. A month later, an event supporting guns, then President Trump and Scheller was held at Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays.
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And in January, Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays hosted a rally for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick; U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was the guest speaker.
William Bachenberg was subpoenaed by the House Jan. 6 committee for his role in approving an alternative Pennsylvania voters list in December 2020 in a failed attempt to shift electoral votes from the state to the President Trump, according to a report by WLVR-FM.
On the campaign expense report, Bachenberg is listed as president of Camp Freedom, which, according to its website, helps “American heroes overcome life’s challenges.” The camp, in Lackawanna County, is for disabled veterans and first responders, their family members, and Gold Star families.
Wild, without an opponent in the Democratic primary, continued to increase his campaign bank account.
The campaign ended in March with $2,353,061 in cash, up from $1,705,3321 at the start of the year.
The campaign spent $250,259 and raised $906,076: $727,460 from individual contributions, nearly 40% of which came from ActBlue, $5,949 from Democratic Party groups, $154.57 from political action committees and $18,090 from other political committees authorized to fundraise for the campaign.
PAC’s top donations came from Emily’s List ($14,178); US Israel Public Affairs Committee ($29,436); New Democrat Coalition Action Fund ($12,200); American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO COPE ($5,000); American Federation of Government Employees ($5,000); DigiDems PAC ($9,200), End Citizens United ($2,500); and Portland Cement Association Inc. ($2,500).
Katherine Reinhard and Robert H. Orenstein are reporters for Armchair Lehigh Valley, where this story first appeared.