SOMERVILLE, NJ - Local Democrats helped to welcome 7th Congressional District candidate Peter Jacob to town Tuesday night as the political upstart opened his campaign headquarters in a storefront sandwiched between a bicycle shop and pizzeria on North Gaston Avenue.

The 30-year-old Jacob, a Union County resident, social worker and vice president of a small family security business, will challenge Republican incumbent Leonard Lance in November’s election. Lance, a former state Assemblyman and state Senator, is a resident of Hunterdon County and is seeking a fifth term in the House of Representatives.

Jacob received 45,272 votes from Democrats in the June 7th New Jersey primary election, the most votes ever recorded in a 7th District primary.  Lance received 31,489 votes in the Republican primary.

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Following the 2010 US Census, the Congressional Map was redrawn so that it now includes portions of Essex, Morris, Somerset, Union and Warren counties, as well as the entirety of Hunterdon County.

Election Day 2016 is 98 days away, and Jacob campaign manager Josh Levin lost no time working the crowd, doing what a campaign manager does – urging volunteers to sign up, work the phones and knock on doors, and to dig into their pockets to make a donation.

Somerville Borough Council President Steve Peter said Jacob is the right man for the job.

“He’s an outstanding young man, exactly what we need in Congress,” Peter said. He’s who we need to win this district back."

The last time a Democrat represented the 7th District was in 1981.

“We’re glad you chose Somerville as your campaign headquarters and hope that this will become your office for the 7th District,” he added.

Democrat Council members Dennis Sullivan and Thompson Mitchell were also on hand.

A supporter of Bernie Sanders, Jacob’s platform embraces similar progressive ideals, and his remarks to  supporters centered on pervasive greed, the political and corporate elite, and business as usual in Washington.

Referring to his opponent as “a certain congressman,” Jacob said his campaign would stand with those residents of Hunterdon County who are fighting against the spread of fracking, with expansive drilling operations across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania, and those who oppose the expansion of the Penn East pipeline, which will carry natural gas into New Jersey from Pennsylvania.

Jacob said his campaign will also honor the first three words of the Constitution – “We the People” – standing up to special interests.

Jacob said he will fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage, tuition free public colleges, and will support organized labor and help to create green energy jobs.

“We want to make a better life for families; we all deserve a chance at the American Dream,” Jacob said.

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