GREEN BROOK, NJ - Congressman Leonard Lance has an impeccable resume that includes stints in the New Jersey Assembly, the New Jersey State Senate and the House of Representatives. He has a strong Republican pedigree. He has never been anywhere near a scandal.
So why, then, does businessman and self-styled "Reagan Conservative" David Larsen believe he has a shot to unseat the four-term incumbent.
In 2014, Larsen gave Lance a real run for his money, finishing with over 47 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. Many conservatives nationwide remember the primary election upset of then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by Dave Brat, an unknown college professor who ran against Washington, D.C. as a movement conservative.
In conservative circles, Cantor's surname became a verb, meaning something along the lines of defeating an incumbent Republican. Does Larsen think he can "Cantor" Congressman Lance?
On Saturday, Larsen opened his Green Brook campaign headquarters and announced his 2016 primary candidacy for the Republican nomination for the House of Representatives in New Jersey's 7th Congressional District. The 7th covers all or part of seven counties. All four towns in the Somerset Hills TAP area are constituent towns of the 7th District.
Larsen believes that people are frustrated with Washington. "I believe this will be the year that the frustrated taxpayers unseat the third generation career politician liberal incumbent Congressman Leonard Lance," Larsen said in a press release.
"People are clamoring for a true conservative to represent New Jersey's Seventh Congressional District who knows how to run government like a successful business, a person who has proven successful business experience of over 36 years," he said.
"We need to get rid of career politicians like Lance, who holds a distorted view of entitlement to office," Larsen told the standing-room only crowd. "The House is the people's House, established by our Founding Fathers to be populated by men and women who serve for a short period of time, then return to their private livelihood, not to be monopolized by career politicians with self-serving interests." Larsen continued, "That is why I strongly support term limits and will push that legislation when in Washington."
"Informed people are fed up with liberals in the House like Lance, based on his voting record, he has embarrassing failing scores of only 43 percent from Conservative Review and another failing score of only 53 percent from the conservative Heritage Action, he desires to have more in common with Pelosi, Reed, Schumer and Bernie Sanders than he does with true conservatives like Garrett, Brat or Jordan, so the time has come to retire him," Larsen is credited with saying in the press release.
According to a campaign press release, the 2014 Larsen race was the third-closest primary race in the country, so Larsen is confident that he will be able to defeat Lance this year. "I'm not a perennial candidate, I'm a persistent candidate," said the Republican challenger. "Lance is the quintessential true perennial and career candidate, running for consecutive office for close to 30 years."
The Republican primary election will be held on the first Tueday in June. The winner of the Republican primary will face the Democrat nominee in the general election in November.