Five-term Rep. Leonard Lance had no trouble winning a Republican primary against challengers from the right and left, but now braces for a general election contest against Democrat Tom Malinowski, a former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State under Barack Obama.
Malinowski won a landslide victory in his first bid for public office, taking 67% of the vote against two opponents. Peter Jacob, who ran against Lance two years ago, finished second with 19%, and attorney Goutam Jois came in third with 14%.
The race to take on Lance began with seven candidates and the field winnowed after Malinowski won the organization lines in all five counties in the 7th district.
Union County gave Malinowski a 69%-21% win over Jacob, with Jois, a Summit resident, receiving just 10%.
Malinowski won Somerset County by a 63%-19% margin over Jois, who finished two points ahead of Jacob.
Hunterdon County gave Malinowski 68% of the vote. Jacob came in second with 21%, followed by Jois at 11%.
In Morris County, Malinowski took 66% of the vote, followed by Jacob (18%) and Jois (16%).
Malinowski carried Warren County with 65%, ahead of Jacob (18%) and Jois (17%).
Lance won 75%, with liberal Republican Lindsay Brown finishing second with 15% and conservative Republican Raafat Barsoom coming in third with 11%.