Incumbent Leonard Lance and former Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski are in an extremely tight Congressional race in New Jersey’s 7th District. Recent polling by the NY Times has Lance with just a 1% lead over Malinowski, with a 9% margin of error.
NJ-7, a centrist district in the suburbs of New Jersey, tends to lean Republican but has voted Democrat in the past. In 2016, for example, Hillary Clinton won the district by 1.5%. Since 2008, Republican Leonard Lance has represented the district; however, the incumbent has faced a tightly contested re-election campaign due to the district’s distaste in President Trump and shifting demographics.
In the upcoming house election between Lance and Malinowski, moderation has become the biggest issue concerning the ace. Voters have made it clear they want a representative who puts the district views first even if it means crossing party lines. They have made it clear they want a representative who is willing to stand up to both the President and the far-left. With these factors in mind, NJ-7 voters should re-elect Leonard Lance due to his proven track record of putting NJ-7 views over party politics and reject Tom Malinowski, whose views suggest he will do the opposite.
Leonard Lance’s moderate record and independent voice in Congress makes him the right choice to represent NJ-7 centrist views. He has proven to be a bipartisan member in Congress who has not been afraid to cross party lines. The Lugar Center, which assesses the frequency members of Congress draw support from members of an opposite party and how often a Congress member co-sponsors bipartisan bills, ranked Lance the 13th most bipartisan member of Congress in 2017. GovTrack.org, which tracks Congress members based on their willingness to sponsor bipartisan bills ranked Lance New Jersey’s 2nd most bipartisan member of Congress. Congressional Quarterly, a group which closely follows Congressional voting, has said that Lance is a “moderate-to-mildly conservative Republicans”, who wields a lot of influence to his tendency to vote against his party. Lance has proven to be an independent voter who is willing to cross party lines in order to put his district first. When considering his bipartisanship in co-sponsoring bills and influence in the GOP, which can be attributed to his willingness to vote against his party for his district, it is clear that Lance is a moderate fit to represent New Jersey’s 7th District.
Despite this bipartisan track record, many voters are currently uneasy about Leonard Lance’s moderate stance due to his recent healthcare stances, specifically regarding the Affordable Care Act. Critics have pointed to Lance’s votes on the act as proof of the representative shift to playing party politics. These claims have been the biggest knock on Lance’s re-election campaign as NJ-7 have labeled health care as the #1 issue. However, these claims on Lance’s views regarding healthcare are misleading at best. While Lance originally supported repealing the act, which went against the views of the district and was supported by the Republican party, in the end, when voting on whether to repeal the act, Lance put his district first, and voted against the notion and, in fact, went against party views in order to ensure his district’s views were being represented in Congress. Lance’s votes on healthcare actually showed his willingness to support the district’s centrist views and ability to cross party lines.
While Tom Malinowski’s previous government service should be appreciated, his views are simply too extreme for NJ-7, a district that wants a bipartisan, moderate candidate. While Malinowski has a very scarce track record on his own actions, all signs suggest he will help fuel the far-left agenda that is not supported in the district. Malinowski has a very progressive agenda on minimum wage, immigration, gun rights, and other social issues. Though Malinowski’s views may be supported in a different district, they are not in line with NJ-7, a district who wants a bipartisan, centrist who will be unafraid to cross party lines.
When considering the importance of moderation in New Jersey’s 7th district race, the choice becomes clear. Although both Lance and Malinowski are qualified for the job, Lance has proven to be a centrist representative, who has been unafraid to put his district first and even vote against his own party to do so, while Malinowski past actions and views suggest the opposite. While his views may be well suited for another district, Malinowski’s stances on numerous issues are extremely progressive, making him the wrong person to represent NJ-7. Given these circumstances, voters should re-elect Leonard Lance, as he will be a moderate voice in Congress and put the district’s centrist views first.
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