WARREN, NJ - Congressman Leonard Lance has filed his Statement of Candidacy to run for re-election to the House of Representatives. Lance has already drawn a challenger in the Republican primary, with another potential Republican challenger waiting in the wings.
Political newcomer York Cook of Springfield filed a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on October 15. Mr. Cook reports raising $6,015 for his campaign.
One might wonder why a Republican would want to run against Lance, and his imposing resume. He represented the 23rd Legislative District in the State Assembly from 1991-2002, and in the State Senate from 2002-2008. He served as Senate Minority Leader from 2004-2008. Lance won the Republican nomination to represent the Seventh Congressional District, running in a crowded field in 2008. He has served four terms in the House. Since 1991, he has lost only one election (the 1996 Republican primary for Congress), and he has never had even a whiff of a scandal.
As for the "mother's milk of campaigns," Congressman Lance reports $427,658 cash-on-hand in his campaign account as of September 30, 2015. Is it any wonder, then that Lance has defeated his last three Democratic challengers by margins of 17 to 19 points?
Despite the track record, and a strong reputation as a legislator, Lance has faced contested Republican primaries each time he has run. He won the 2008 primary with 40% of the vote in a field of seven candidates. As an incumbent, he has faced primary challenges in 2010, 2012 and 2014. In 2010, three Republican challengers earned 44% of the primary vote. In 2012, Republican challenger Dave Larsen earned 39% of the vote.
In 2014, Larsen ran for a third time, winning 46% of the vote in the primary. Larsen won 48% of the vote in Somerset County, and won five Somerset County municipalities. Larsen raised and spent over $115,000 in the primary. In February 2015, Larsen stated that he would probably run again; however, he has yet to file with the Federal Election Commission for the 2016 election cycle.
The Republican primary will be held on June 7, 2016.