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Carbon reacts to Wild’s remarks about Trump vote

U.S. Rep. Susan Wild recently said that Carbon County residents should not have voted for former President Donald Trump, prompting backlash from local Republicans.

Wild’s 7th district, which covers the Lehigh Valley, was redrawn to include Carbon County after the 2020 census. She is seeking her third term in Congress.

Her comments about her new district during a virtual meet and greet earlier this week were republished by Fox News.

“Carbon County has many attributes, but it is a county that - although it was once an Obama county - it since has become a Trump county,” she said. “I’m not quite sure what was in their heads because the people of Carbon County are exactly the kind of people who should not be voting for a Donald Trump, but I guess I might have to school them on that a little bit. But most of all, it is a very rural county,” she added.

During the 2020 election, 65% of Carbon County voters cast ballots for Trump. Obama won the county in 2008, but not in 2012.

Supporters of Lisa Scheller, Wild’s opponent in November’s general election and the CEO of Silberline Manufacturing Co. in Rush Township, criticized Wild for her comments. Scheller’s campaign said that it shows that Wild looks down on the county and questions the residents’ ability to think for themselves.

The campaign put out a statement quoting local Republicans who took exception to her statement.

Jim Thorpe Mayor Michael Sofranko was quoted as saying that Wild should think of those feeling high gas prices and inflation before she considers schooling them, or winning re-election.

“Carbon County is defined by faith, family, and friends,” Sofranko said.

A quote from State Sen. David Argall said that Scheller better understands the residents of Carbon County as someone who grew up next door.

“Susan Wild wants to school us on her liberal agenda that gave us record gas prices and inflation, but I think the people of Carbon County are going to school Congresswoman Wild in November.”

Ty Poole, a business owner and member of the Carbon County Republican Committee, reportedly said he would invite Wild to his business to educate him on how she has helped his life and business.

“The people of Carbon County are smart educated voters who care about their rising cost of living under Susan Wild’s tenure in Congress. Shame on her for demeaning the hard-working people that call Carbon County home,” he said.

Local Democrats said Wild has met with many local residents and been respectful and open minded.

“She and her team want to hear from all residents of Carbon County. They particularly want to hear about what is important to us, what we need and want,” said Tina Smith-Henninger, chairman of the Carbon County Democratic Committee.

Asked about the reaction to her statement, Wild did not address residents who voted for Trump. She criticized Scheller for growing Silberline’s operations in China, and for closing a facility in Lansford.

“People in Carbon County should know that there couldn’t be a more clear contrast between myself and Lisa Scheller when it comes to who will put Carbon County first,” Wild said.

In 2020, Wild defeated Scheller in the old 7th District with 51.9% of the vote.

The 2022 election is expected to be close, in a redrawn district with a roughly equal number of registered Democrats and Republicans, and low approval ratings for President Biden.

Wild has raised $4.1 million and had $3.1 million on hand according to her most recent campaign finance report, while Scheller has raised $2.4 million and has $1.2 million on hand.