CD7 Flashpoint: Republican Heard Eying a 2018 Run Against Lance

Craig Heard of Roxbury, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2016, is mulling another crack at the seat currently occupied by U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7). He’d run at Lance from the right, and has already drawn a bead on the Republican congressman’s no vote on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“I haven’t made a final decision,” said Heard, a marketing consultant who last year came in a distant third in the GOP Primary behind perennial contender David Larsen.

Leonard Lance Incumbent 53.9% 31,807
David Larsen 32.9% 19,425
Craig Heard 13.2% 7,774
Total Votes 59,006
Source: New Jersey Division of Elections

Heard said he learned that Larsen doesn’t intend to run next year, and acknowledged being buoyed by the potential of a one on one showdown with Lance.

“I understand the strategy of initially opposing the bill repealing Obamacare, that engages more conversation,” Heard told InsiderNJ. “You float it out there, fine. But once the bill was supported by the party, I think that was the time to move it on to the senate. Why not step up and vote yes, knowing it’s going to come back anyway?”

In short, Heard would have voted yes on the bill that included the MacArthur Amendment.

“I don’t believe in rubber stamping, and I do believe in negotiation,” said the prospective Lance challenger. “But with all the control the Republicans have now and the opportunity before us, you’ve got to support the president.”

In response to Lance’s call for former FBI Director James Comey to go before Congress, Heard said he has no problem with that, and also decried as “disgraceful” the leaks out of the Trump White House.

Heard told InsiderNj he intends to make a final decision regarding a congressional run before the 2017 general election.

Democrats are already lining up to run in their party’s 2018 primary for a shot at Lance, including businesswoman Linda Weber, businessman and professor Zenon Christodoulou, and social worker Peter Jacob, who last year gathered more than 148,000 votes in his campaign against Lance but lost by 11%.

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