Switch to U.S. 7th District Means Change In Bernards
Voters will be selecting a new U.S. Congressman in Tuesday's primary, even if the incumbent is elected.
When voters in Bernards Township, Long Hill Township and the Martinsville section of Bridgewater head to the polls on Tuesday, they won't have the choice of whether to select their incumbent U.S. Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen.
As a result of redistricting, all of those voting districts will be switched on Jan. 1, 2013 from the 11th district in U.S. Congress (represented by Frelinghuysen, a Republican) to the 7th district, now represented by Leonard Lance, also a Republican.
Tuesday's primary election throughout the reconfigured 7th Congressional District will determine whether Lance, a U.S. Congressman since 2009, will now represent those additional areas.
Lance, of Clinton Township, who previously served in the N.J. Assembly and N.J. Senate, is opposed by Tewksbury Township businessman David Larsen, who has been targeting Lance as a career politician and identifying himself as a "true conservative."
Meanwhile, Lance's campaign said the Congressman spent most of the past weekend campaigning door-to-door in Bernards, Basking Ridge and Bridgewater, and on Monday morning greeted voters at the Lyons train station. Leonard received a great reception going door-to-door. "Voters are clearly responding to Leonard Lance's strong fiscally conservative record and stellar constituent service," according to his campaign.
Voters in the new 7th district towns will also see a Democrat on their ballot Tuesday seeking the same position, Upendra J. Chivukula. Chivukula, of Franklin Township in Somerset County, currently is a state Assemblyman representing the 17th district.
Chivukula is unopposed in seeking the Democratic nomination.
Larsen has said that the redrawn 7th district is more conservative than the previous district that elected Lance.
"On Tuesday, June 5, the Republican voters of the 7th District will have the opportunity to elect a new Congressman when they vote for limited-government conservative David Larsen instead of incumbent, big-government moderate Leonard Lance who now claims to be a 'principled Reagan conservative," Larsen's campaign said in response for a request for last comments prior to the election.
"Lance gladly discusses all the votes he cast against Obamacare and in favor of less spending and smaller government — but doesn't mention that he has voted more times to increase spending and the size of the federal government than he has voted to decrease them," Larsen said.
Larsen has adhered to conservative principles his entire adult life, according to a statement he sent out late last week, in response to a request for a final election statement.
"Larsen is a businessman—not a career politician—and a Washington outsider," the release said.
Larsen also diescribed himself a strong advocate for traditional marriage and the unborn, who has received excellent evaluations from conservative watchdog groups, and has been endorsed by several national and state conservative organizations—including the American Conservative Union.
Lance's campaign manager said in May that Larsen's argument is false in saying that the newly drawn district is "more conservative."
Leonard Lance's staff response to Larsen's criticism during the campaign
"The new district is more Republican," said a statement issued May 9 by Lance's campaign. "And they are Leonard Lance-Republicans," the statement said.
On Monday, the Lance campaign predicted that support would translate into a strong victory on Tuesday.
"Many of the towns new to the 7th Congressional District were represented by Congressman Frelinghuysen for many years. Congressman Frelinghuysen and Congressman Lance are not only close friends but their voting records closely resemble each other," said the statement from Lance's campaign.
A number of national conservative groups rate Lance as being slightly more conservative than Frelinghuysen, the statement said.
The campaign pointed out that "new" towns in Hunterdon and Warren counties were part of Leonard Lance's legislative district. Lance represented those towns for 18 years in the state legislature, the statement.
Larsen, who was defeated by Lance in the previous race for U.S. Congress in 2010, is "completely unknown" in new parts of the redrawn district, the statement claims.
Within the Somerset Hills, Lance already represents much of the Somerset Hills area, including Bedminster, Bernardsville and Far Hills, the statement said. "These towns are not very different from Basking Ridge and Bernards Township," the statement said.
Both candidates have been in the Somerset Hills during recent times.
Larsen's campsaign said, "The time has come for the 7th District to elect a leader with the courage to stand up for the principles that made America the greatest and most exceptional nation in the history of mankind."
Lance had held a town hall meeting in January in Bernardsville, and attended the forum at The Bernards Inn.
Lance has been endorsed by Gov. Chris Christie, and other key state legislators and newspapers, his campaign website says.
Lance said at the town hall, and on his website, that he believes the economy, and federal spending, are the most important issues facing the nation. "Leonard Lance voted in favor of a balanced budget amendment and am a proud sponsor of a constitutional amendment to limit federal spending — a proposal that mirrors the New Jersey’s Lance Amendment prohibiting further state borrowing without voter approval," his website says.