The Courier News , Daily Record and the Home News Tribune have endorsed Democrat Tom Malinowski for Congress in New Jersey’s 7th district against five-term Republican incumbent Leonard Lance.
“If Congress worked the way it should, Leonard Lance would have more influence in Washington,” the editorial board wrote. “If Donald Trump wasn’t our president, voters could send the Republican Lance back for another term in the 7th Congressional District in good conscience, confident they will continue to be represented by a respectful voice of moderation where it is badly needed.”
This represents a loss of an endorsement for Lance, who has had the support of the two Gannett-owned daily newspapers in past campaigns.
While praising Malinowski’s credentials as a former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State under President Obama and as a Clinton White House staffer, the editorial pillories Lance, who has held public office for 27 years.
“Lance’s brand of gentlemanly good sense feels as sadly outdated as top hats and wooden pickle barrels,” the newspapers said. “Extremist voices from both sides make all of the noise, drowning out the likes of Lance.”
The editorial board also dismissed Lance’s membership in the House Problem Solvers Caucus.
“Lance’s bipartisanship also feels more a function of convenience than true commitment. Some of his policy positions have shifted with the political challenge of the moment during his decade in Congress,” wrote the editorial board. “He insists he has remained consistent, but his votes tell us otherwise. Lance wants us to believe that in a narrowly GOP-controlled House, he could play a key role in joining with Democrats to force compromise. But even if sincere, we’re skeptical of him finding enough help among Republicans to make a meaningful impact.”
The newspapers said that while they don’t want “Lance’s type of moderation to disappear,” they say “we can’t afford the luxury of waiting for the political tide to turn.”
“Lance, we fear, is always trying too hard to thread the needle of serving all masters. That’s not enough under the specter of Trump,” the editorial board said. “The recommendation is simple: A vote for Lance is a vote for Trump. So vote for Malinowski.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated to include the Daily Record endorsement.