New Jersey: Lance Ready to Do Battle in Ferguson Seat Primary

Posted January 22, 2008 at 6:44pm

State Sen. Leonard Lance (R) will announce his candidacy today for the 7th district seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Mike Ferguson (R).

Lance had indicated his interest in the Ferguson seat not long after Ferguson announced in November that he would retire at the end of his term. But his official announcement comes after a recent meeting with the National Republican Congressional Committee and a day after state Assemblyman Peter Biondi (R) said he would not be a candidate in the race.

Even with Biondi out, Lance probably will face a tough primary battle with Somerset-based Kate Whitman, the daughter of former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R), almost certain to file for Ferguson’s seat. The younger Whitman is expected to meet with the NRCC in the coming weeks.

Regardless of who emerges from the Republican primary, the general election in this Republican-leaning district is sure to be highly competitive, as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced last week that the 7th district will be a top target of its “Red to Blue” fundraising and infrastructure program. The program seeks to expand the House playing field and grow the Democratic majority by picking up typically safe Republican seats.

State Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D) lost to Ferguson by fewer than 3,000 votes in 2006, and the DCCC is putting its full weight behind her campaign this time around.
— John McArdle