Former Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski defeated Rep. Leonard Lance with 136,993 votes on Tuesday, flipping a seat last held by Democrats in 1981.
Lance received 130,093 votes, giving Malinowski a narrow two-point win over the five-term incumbent
Much of the closely-watched race focused on national issues, with Malinowski frequently denouncing — directly or otherwise — policies imposed by President Donald Trump.
Lance, a moderate Republican, hasn’t been the staunchest supporter of the president, but in a year widely considered to be a referendum on Trump, that only mattered so much.
Malinowski’s campaign paid much focus to president, hitting Lance over the Republican tax plan, which the congressman did not vote for, and the Affordable Care Act repeal Republicans attempted to pass last year. Lance voted in favor of that plan in committee but voted against it when it came to the floor of the House.
Towards the end, Malinowski’s focus shifted to immigration. More specifically, he attacked Lance by proxy over statements on a migrant caravan in Central America made by the president and officials in solidly-red states.
Republicans, he said, were running on fear.
Lance focused much of his campaign’s attacks on Malinowski’s years spent living outside the state. The congressman-elect spent decades living and working in Washington D.C., spending the largest portion of that time as Washington Director for Human Rights Watch.
Lance also attempted to link Malinowski to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Malinowski was the only Democratic challenger in the state that stopped short of saying he would not vote the longtime California congresswoman into a leadership role if elected.
After the dust had settled, Lance offered Malinowski his congratulations and well wishes.
“I congratulate Mr. Malinowski on his election to the House of Representatives and wish him and the new Congress well in the important work that lies ahead,” Lance said in a statement. “I thank the hundreds of people who worked so hard on our campaign and the thousands of voters who supported us today. My deepest gratitude goes to all of the residents of this wonderful congressional district. The election is now over. We must move the nation forward in a bipartisan and united way, treating each other with civility and respect, as I have always done and will continue to do.”
This story was updated with comment from Lance.