As Chris Christie continues to battle for a respectable second or third-place showing in next month’s New Hampshire primary, U.S. Representative Leonard Lance of New Jersey’s heavily conservative seventh congressional district says that the combative Republican governor still has the edge over Donald Trump in his eyes.
“I will be supporting Governor Christie, and I think the most important issue confronting the nation is homeland security,” said Lance. “I think he knows more about that than any other candidate.”
Lance would not, however, rule out Trump’s ability to create a strong Republican coalition after what many have described as an anti-establishment campaign hinging on populist resentment. In fact, Lance said that he welcomes the unrest that has helped Republicans bring new candidates to the field.
“I think he would be able to work with those who are in Congress, and state governors, and others. And I think we have a deep bench on the Republican side,” Lance said. “There are a lot of fresh faces on the Republican side, including Donald Trump. And that’s not true on the Democratic side with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.”
Lance said that while Trump’s bluster won’t preclude future compromises with party leadership, Sanders’ self-described ‘democratic socialist’ ticket will be a harder sell in his own party.
“I do not favor raising taxes in this country and I believe his proposals would lead to enormous tax increases in this country, including enormous tax increases on middle class Americans,” Lance said.
If he gets past Republican challenger David Larsen (a Ted Cruz backer) in June, Lance will face his own progressive challenge from social worker and Union Democrat Peter Jacob in 2016. Morris County Republican Craig Heard also intends to run for Lance’s seat.