The last time Leonard Lance ran for Congress was in 1996; he sought an open seat when Richard Zimmer ran for the United States Senate. In that GOP primary, Somerset County Freeholder Michael Pappas defeated Senate Majority Leader John Bennett by a 38%-34%, with Lance, then an Assemblyman, won 26%.
But Lance’s popularity among Republicans in Hunterdon County is undeniable, and Hunterdon is a key player in a seventh district Republican primary. And Union County, which has elected a Republican to Congress since Florence Dwyer ousted Harrison Williams in 1956, no longer dominates the district.
In 2006, 38% of Mike Ferguson’s primary votes came out of Hunterdon, while 29% came from Somerset, 27% from Union, and 6% from Middlesex.
In 2004, Somerset represented 37% of Ferguson’s primary votes, while Hunterdon was 33%, Union was 24%, and Middlesex was 5%.
In 2002, the first election after congressional redistricting, Hunterdon cast the most votes for Ferguson, 6,520 (32%) – seventeen more than Somerset. Union cast 524 votes less than Somerset, and Middlesex was 6% of the vote.