SHORT HILLS – Attorney Rosemary Becchi from Short Hills, a Republican, is quietly making the rounds in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District against an intensified national backdrop of U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance’s (R-7) nay vote on President Donald J Trump’s budget, and incumbents like Republican U.S. Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona folding their reelection bids rather than endure Trump-fueled GOP Primary wrath come 2018 Election Day.
Republican sources say Becchi could emerge as a primary alternative to Lance, who’s no vote on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the budget have infuriated Trump and irked the Republican right. At present, Craig Heard is already in position to oppose Lance again after losing to the moderate Republican last year in a three-way primary contest. Heard even attended a GOP strategy session at the White House after this year’s primary election.
But sources say the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee (RCCC) isn’t likely to go ape over Heard.
Becchi, however, is another story.
A GOP source this week told InsiderNJ that the national GOP sees the 7th as one of 15 targeted districts nationally, and one that has particular interest for Trump, whose golf course getaway is situated in Bedminster.
CD7 is a bit of a taffy pull district, with the Somerset establishment portion of the district continually irritated during the Obama years by the Hunterdon-based Lance’s rightward lean, which pulled Republicans into repeated dogfights with gentleman farmer Tea Partier David Larsen. That was bad enough, one source griped to InsiderNJ, noting Lance’s stout support out of the gate for movement conservative U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan, for example, which tilted the axis here. But then Lance’s tack to the left on Obamacare in the Trump era, followed by the tax vote, has the party feeling practically seasick.
“[Senate Minority Leader Tom [Kean, Jr.] would never run against Leonard,” a source told InsiderNJ, referring to the Union portion of the 7th, and dismissing the long-kicked-around narrative about the establishment creating a drop-zone for Lance in judge’s robes to make way for party scion Kean.
And Heard doesn’t excite, the source added.
With roots in Somerset, Becchi has made a positive early impression with party bigwigs sizing up Lance’s future while always keeping an eye on the right, now apparently reawakened by the President and his budget agenda.
Prior to joining the firm of McGuireWoods, Becchi practiced for a full-service law and lobbying firm in the District of Columbia, where she served as deputy chair of the firm’s Tax and Financial Services Public Policy Department.
According to the firm’s website, she began her career in the Office of the Chief Counsel at the Internal Revenue Service, where she developed and drafted rulings and regulations on national tax policy. “She went on to serve as tax counsel on the majority staff of the Senate Finance Committee where she played a key role in developing legislation at the committee, including legislation on corporate and income tax accounting issues, the R&D tax credit, methods of accounting, depreciation, education savings and charitable giving.
“After leaving Capitol Hill, [Becchi] worked at a large accounting firm providing tax advice to corporate clients on complex tax transactions. Following that she joined an American multinational financial services corporation’s federal government relations division and was responsible for representing the organization on its federal corporate tax, corporate governance, accounting, and auditing issues. [She] later joined one of the largest mutual fund and institutional investor groups where she was responsible for tax and financial service legislative and regulatory issues, including issues that impacted retirement and health savings, investment products, deferred compensation, and college savings plans. [Becchi] also served as a member of the board of the Investment Committee for the Virginia College Savings Plan, where the committee oversaw the selection of investment options for the plan.”
The behind the scenes evaluation of the potential candidate comes as no fewer than ten Democrats have lined up on the other side, fighting one another to gain the advantage to oppose Lance in a general election.
They, apparently, don’t worry the GOP establishment here, but losing the advantage of the Trump wing of the party to an uncontrollable candidate with no tentacles to the nerve center of power, does.
“They’ll kill each other off,” a GOP source said, referring to the developing field of Democrats, while voicing displeasure with Lance’s fundraising history, which isn’t electric.