Kevin Dellicker announces candidacy for Congress from 7th District
Dellicker lost 2022 GOP primary to Lisa Scheller
This story was updated to include the expected candidacy of Republican state Rep. Ryan Mackenize.
Kevin Dellicker, who last year lost a close primary battle for the Republican nomination for Congress from the Lehigh Valley-based 7th District, announced today he will seek his party’s nomination for the same U.S. House seat in 2024.
“It’s no secret that Washington is broken,” he said in a statement released this morning.
“While this level of dysfunction may boost TV ratings and fundraising, it hurts our families and communities. What Washington needs is less talking heads and more leaders who will roll up their sleeves and work to bring commonsense solutions that benefit our families and communities.”
He said his experience as a small business owner, veteran and military officer would make him an effective representative.
“I’m not a professional politician. I’m not looking for a new career in Washington. I’m running to protect and expand the Republican majority, get the job done, and then return home to Germansville. I’m running because this is my home too. I was raised here and my wife Susan and I raised our boys here. We need a voice in Washington who is one of us and will represent all of us.”
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The Republican primary will have at least two other candidates.
Maria Montero, a lawyer, filed her candidacy paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last week. She has yet to formally announce her candidacy publicly. Montero sits on the board of directors of DeSales University and was executive director of Gov. Corbett's Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs.
Ryan Mackenzie, a state representative since winning a special election from the 134th District in 2012, plans to announce his candidacy later this month. Mackenzie was reelected last November from the 187th District - the change a result of redistricting – after defeating fellow Republican incumbent Gary Day.
Mackenzie, 40, of Lower Macungie Township, has eyed the congressional seat twice before but each time ran for reelection to the state House instead.
Dellicker’s campaign filed his FEC paperwork Monday.
Rep. Susan Wild, the Democratic incumbent, was reelected last year to a third, two-year term. She filed her FEC 2024 candidate statement two weeks after the 2022 election.
That congressional election was among many nationwide considered likely to flip to Republican, but Wild, with 51% of the vote, defeated Lisa Scheller.
Scheller, a former Lehigh County commissioner and president and CEO of Silberline Manufacturing, a global aluminum pigment company headquartered in Schuylkill County, defeated Dellicker in the 2022 GOP primary.
With a 10-1 fundraising advantage over Dellicker, Scheller won the 2022 GOP nomination with 51.3% vote.
She was the Republican nominee in 2020, when she also lost to Wild. Scheller has not registered as a candidate for 2024.
The district comprises all of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties and, in Monroe County, Eldred and Polk townships and part of Ross Township.
Dellicker, 52, of Heidelberg Township, is a veteran who served a total of four tours in Afghanistan and Iraq in the years after 9/11 as an intelligence officer with the National Guard. He is now a commander of his National Guard unit.
He owns Dellicker Strategies, which helps businesses and organizations, including school districts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with broadband internet access and cybersecurity.
He graduated from Northwestern Lehigh High School and received college degrees from Penn State University (environmental science and history), Syracuse University (master’s in public administration), and Liberty University (master of divinity in global studies).
During an interview today, he outlined key issues he would address if elected: Supporting policies that lead to safe communities, good jobs and strong families; controlling inflation, which he said was fueled by President Biden’s Build Back Better Act that was supported by Wild; securing the southern border; increasing manufacturing in the Lehigh Valley; and addressing the trade imbalance with China as well as its threat to U.S. national security.
He said he didn’t intend to seek the congressional seat a second time.
“When I got the business stable again [after the primary] and … felt comfortable with where the military unit was headed, I started to talk to other people about who might run for Congress on the Republican side because I still thought Susan Wild was very vulnerable and that it was an extremely consequential seat,” he said.
He approached potential candidates – people who like him would be “citizen legislators” but not “professional politicians.” But he found no one who fit that definition willing to run. At the end of March, after talking with his family and supporters, he decided to “throw my hat back in the ring.”
He intends to build the 2024 campaign on the neary 33,000 people who voted for him in the 2022 primary.
Dellicker said he will incorporate critical lessons he learned from his experience into the new campaign.
“Building a better fundraising apparatus is going to be extremely important this time around,” he said.
The campaign will also make greater use of social media to reach voters. And he said he has sought support from Republican leaders in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania and Washington.