ROXBURY, NJ – Craig Heard failed yesterday in his attempt to beat U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7th Dist.) in the Republican primary election, but the Succasunna resident showed no signs of regret about his candidacy.
Surrounded by supporters at an election night gathering, Heard characterized his attempt to unseat the incumbent Congressman not so much as a choice but more an obligation. He said he’d become frustrated with Lance and thought the former state assemblyman and state senator needed to show more concern for his conservative constituents’ requests.
“I wouldn’t have been happy with myself if I hadn’t tried to unseat Leonard Lance just because of the accountability issues and the entitlement he felt: that he should continue in that seat,” said Heard in an interview after he conceded.
Lance, first elected to Congress in 2008, easily outdistanced both Craig and David Larson, who also failed in a 2014 primary challenge against him. With 92 percent of the 7th District voting precincts results in, Lance won 54 percent of the votes, Larsen won 33 percent and Heard won 14 percent.
It was a much better election night for Morris County Freeholder Director Kathryn DeFillippo, the only other Roxbury resident seeking voter approval. DeFillippo, and fellow freeholder board incumbents Thomas Mastrangelo and Douglas Cabana, survived a 3-seat GOP primary battle against Randolph Mayor Roman Hirniak, Parsippany Council President Louis Valori, Parsippany resident Peter King and former Morris County Freeholder John Krickus.
Heard, a businessman who has long been involved in state and national Republican politics, suggested he might play a part in the campaign of expected GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. He also said he warned Lance, in a phone call he made to the Congressman after conceding, that Trump – if elected President – will expect him to become a man of more action in Washington.
He said he told Lance that “Donald Trump is not going to sit back and let The Establishment and career politicians just continue the way they’re doing and if you don’t step up then you’re not going to have the same results that you did this year.”