Lance needs to quickly get political

The buzz among Republican insiders is that Leonard Lance would do well as a Congressman, but that he’ll need to show party leaders that he can handle being a candidate. Lance is a statesman-like policy wonk who is viewed as a poor player of the partisan political game – and that is potentially a big problem in a competitive general election against a Democrat who came within one percent of winning the House seat in 2006.

As Senate Minority Leader for the last four years, he has been widely criticized for failing to raise enough money to fund GOP Senate candidates, and for dropping the ball on candidate recruitment. Two Republican incumbents lost on his watch, and Jennifer Beck, the lone Republican to unseat a Democratic Senator, gives no credit to Lance for her victory.

Lance could become the front runner for Mike Ferguson’s seat – his Hunterdon base is significant and he’ll have conservative support because Michael Doherty wants his State Senate seat – if he can demonstrate two things: the ability to raise money by the end of the year (Republicans won’t want to wait until the April FEC reports); and a willingness to assemble a more competent political team than he’s used in the past. Lance needs to quickly get political