Lehigh Hosts Democratic Congressional Candidates' Debate

The more than 300 people who flocked to Neville Hall last night were treated to a lively debate between the six Democratic primary candidates vying for the chance to compete in November to represent District 7 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The packed auditorium—and overflow room— included Lehigh staff, faculty and students, as well as members of the wider community.

The event was hosted by Lehigh Valley for All, a group which formed after the 2016 elections “…to connect, organize and mobilize progressives across the valley,” and Power Northeast, an interfaith nonprofit organization. All six candidates—David Clark, Rick M. Dougherty, Greg Edwards, John Morganelli, Roger Ruggles and Susan Ellis Wild—were in attendance to share their views on the four predetermined topics: immigration, labor rights, the environment and gun control.

The May 15 primary will determine which of the Democratic candidates will face opponents in the November election.  The seat became available after Representative Charlie Dent announced his retirement last September.

Lehigh’s department of political science provided a venue and support for the candidate debate in line with its mission to promote civic engagement and education. The intention was to host two events: a forum for the Democratic candidates and another for the Republican candidates. The Chair of the Northampton County Republican Committee declined Lehigh’s invitation on behalf of the Republican candidates, stating that it was not the “right fit.”

Last night’s debate was sponsored in part by the Lehigh Valley Coalition of Progressives and Democrats.

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