Dems Pick Up One House Seat, But Lance Beats Stender

Leonard Lance

Leonard Lance

STATE—New Jersey Democrats gained a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Election Day, but Republican state Sen. Leonard Lance defeated Democrat Linda Stender to hold on to the seat being vacated by Rep. Mike Ferguson for the G.O.P.

Lance defeated Stender by more than 25,000 votes, giving him a larger margin of victory than Ferguson managed over Stender in 2006.

Stender had more than a $1 million fundraising advantage, but she only won the majority of votes in one of the four counties in the Seventh Congressional District – Middlesex. Lance carried the other three: Hunterdon, Somerset and Union – Stender’s home county.

Ingrid Reed, director of the New Jersey Project at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, said that voters in the 2006 election viewed Ferguson as so conservative and so tied to Bush that Stender won some centrist Republican votes.

“I think that Leonard really is that middle-of-the-road, Rockefeller-type of Republican that makes it easy for Republicans to vote for him,” Reed said.

State Sen. John Adler (D-Camden) beat Republican Medford Mayor Chris Meyers for the Third Congressional District seat currently held by retiring Republican Rep. James Saxton, who was first elected to Congress in 1984.

Incumbents won in all of the other New Jersey House races on the ballot. The other winners were Rob Andrews (D-1), Frank LoBiondo (R-2), Chris Smith (R-4), Scott Garrett (R-5), Frank Pallone (D-6), Bill Pascrell (D-8), Steve Rothman (D-9), Donald Payne (D-10), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11), Rush Holt (D-12) and Albio Sires (D-13).

Democrats will hold eight of New Jersey’s 13 seats in the House after inauguration day.

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