Hunterdon County-based state Sen. Leonard Lance (R) on Monday picked up the endorsement of three key Somerset County GOP state legislators in his bid to replace retiring Rep. Mike Ferguson (R).
The endorsement by state Sen. Kip Bateman, Assemblyman Peter Biondi and Assemblywoman Denise Coyle came despite the fact that several of Lance’s primary opponents — including Kate Whitman, the daughter of former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R) — hail from Somerset. As recently as late January, Biondi was considered a top GOP prospect to try to hold Ferguson’s seat.
Regardless of who emerges from the Republican primary, the general election is sure to be highly competitive, as state Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D) is running again after losing to Ferguson by 1 point in 2006. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is putting its full weight behind Stender’s campaign this time around and recently announced that the 7th district will be a top target of its “Red to Blue” fundraising and infrastructure program.
On Monday, Bateman told the Web site politickernj.com why he was supporting Lance, who has served in the state Legislature for more than 15 years, over Whitman.
“I explained to [Whitman] that I think she’s a good candidate, but I just think that with Leonard’s experience in a tough race, and Linda Stender came close two years ago, I think we need a veteran like Leonard Lance,” he said.
— John McArdle