Leiner suspends campaign for Congressional seat
Bill Leiner, the first Democratic candidate to announce a run for the soon-to-be-vacant 7th District Congressional seat, has suspended his campaign.
In a memo sent to his supporters March 1, Leiner said he will endorse Democratic candidate Susan Wild in her attempt to capture the Lehigh Valley’s Congressional seat. Republicans have held the former 15th District, now known as the 7th District, since 1999.
“I will be dedicating my time and effort for the remainder of the primary to supporting Susan and her primary bid,” Leiner said. “I’m convinced that she is the best and only candidate who can ensure the 7th (District) goes blue in November.”
Leiner began planning his campaign in spring 2017 and announced a formal launch in June. At that time, he was expecting to run against incumbent Rep. Charlie Dent, who has held the seat since 2005.
“My mindset — and my team’s — was that my background and life experiences gave me a great shot at winning in May and November, regardless of the opponent,” Leiner said.
Dent unexpectedly announced his retirement in September, which sent shock waves through the area’s political scene. With Dent removed from the mix and the recent redistricting of the voting area, a dozen candidates have stepped forward to enter the race.
“Charlie Dent’s retirement obviously changed the landscape,” Leiner said. “It shifted the race toward a crowded primary field on both sides — Republican and Democrat.”
Leiner has previously served as Coplay Borough mayor and Lehigh County commissioner. He is currently the treasurer of Whitehall-Coplay School Board.