Leonard Lance is going farming for campaign cash.
Lance, who faces what is seen as a tough reelection battle in the 7th Congressional District, is scheduled to appear at a fundraising dinner July 19 at Alstede Farms in Chester Township. Cost is a relatively reasonable $85 for a guest, but those inspired to be a “gold sponsor” need to come up with $1,000.
The farm is run by Kurt Alstede, who is a long-time active Republican in western Morris County. Alstede has served on the Chester Township Committee and is now a member of the state’s Highlands Council. His farm, which features a store, a chance to pick-your-own crops and the requisite stable of critters, long has been a local tourist destination.
Most of Morris County is still in the 11th District, but 11 towns in the western part of the county are in the 7th.
This is territory where Lance needs to do well. Parts of eastern Morris are slowly beginning to tilt Democratic, but the county’s more rural western section remains strongly Republican.
Lance got about 57 percent of the vote in Morris when he won reelection in 2016. And in last year’s Legislative elections, a strong Republican turnout in western Morris helped the District 25 team of state Sen. Anthony R. Bucco and Assemblymen Anthony M. Bucco and Michael Patrick Carroll avoid what would have been a devastating defeat.
The stakes are probably even higher this time around.
The Washington D.C.-based Cook Political Report considers the race between Lance and Democrat Tom Malinowski a toss-up.
Lance supporters are well aware of the challenge. One noted in an email that reelecting Lance probably keeps Republicans in control of the House.
That prospect should draw a crowd.