It was a little too close for comfort, Save Jerseyans.
Rep. Leonard Lance won 54% of the vote in yesterday’s CD7 GOP primary, garnering 15,693 votes to challenger David Larsen’s 46% representing 13,113 votes. That’s a 2,580 victory margin.
Every other successful New Jersey Republican House candidate won by at least 60% (most above 70% including CD2’s Frank LoBiondo).
This is also the first time that Larsen – a repeat challenger – has closed the gap to a single digit margin. He fell to Lance by 25-points, 56% to 31%, in a three-way contest four years ago. He fell short again by a similar margin in 2012 when Lance was renominated 61% to 39%.
Many conservatives in the district still resent Lance’s past support for the loathsome Cap and Trade plan despite his tough conservative advocacy on a number of other issues since that time including the repeal of Obamacare, something that he’s discussed with Save Jersey at length. He weathered new derision this time around for supporting Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, criticism which I frankly find much less compelling.
The Independence Hall Tea Party cited his backing by the New Jersey Sierra Club as its major rationale for backing Larsen’s campaign.
Lance, ever an astute politician, struck an aggressive tone in his post-victory statement that included an energy reference. “I pledge to continue my efforts to stop Obamacare, open more American-made energy to consumers and serve as a check on the President’s executive overreach — views that are shared by the overwhelming majority of the people of this congressional district,” Lance declared.
He’ll now face Democrat Janice Kovach on the November ballot.