Equity Forward Action is spending more than $100,000 to air a new cable television ad linking Republican Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) to President Donald Trump’s unpopular decision to separate more than 2,000 children from their migrant families.
The ad, “Thousands,” says that “at every turn, Congressman Lance has failed to deliver results” and asks that Lance hold the administration accountable. It begins airing today.
The independent expenditure issue advocacy ad comes a week after the group released polling that shows a majority of voters prefer a congressman who opposes the Trump’s now-rescinded plan to separate migrant children from their families
“As Representative Lance heads home to his district, thousands of innocent children continue to be detained in prison-like facilities. We have a simple message for Lance: it’s time to do your job, get to the bottom of what happened and hold the administration accountable for this inhumane and cruel policy,” said Mary Alice Carter, executive director of Equity Forward Action. “What are members of Congress like Leonard Lance doing to address this crisis? They’re not passing legislation, they’re not solving the crisis, and they’re not even trying to find out how the administration planned and implemented this policy. All we hear from them is talk, when their constituents want – and deserve – action.”
Lance faces Tom Malinowski, a former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State in the Obama administration, in the general election. Lance was re-elected in 2016 by eleven points in a district that narrowly supported Hillary Clinton for president.
“Leonard has been amongst the foremost advocates for reuniting families. He is the lead Republican sponsor of the bipartisan Reunite Children with their Parents Act. Leonard was the only NJ Republican to support the discharge petition to force a vote to protect dreamers,” said Jim Hilk, Lance’s campaign manager. “Attacks against Leonard on immigration are simply partisan.”
Malinowski disagrees with Lance’s representation that he has opposed the separation of families.
“When push comes to shove, Lance listens to extremists in the Republican party over his constituents on the issues,” said Malinowski. “He was for the DACA discharge petition until party leaders told him to kill it. DREAMers deserve better than to be used as a political point before being discarded.”
On Monday evening, Carter criticized the response from Lance’s campaign manager.
“It’s pretty remarkable that Lance’s defense is pointing to legislative action that has gone exactly nowhere. If Lance is committed to this issue, now’s the time for him to deliver results and use his oversight responsibilities to hold the administration accountable,” said Carter.
The poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group, shows Lance with a 44%-30% favorable/unfavorable rating and President Donald Trump narrowly at an upside-down 46%-50%. Trump has, albeit barely, a net positive job approval rate of 49%-48%. Congressional Democrats have favorables of 34%-55%, while congressional Republicans are viewed better at 37%-46%.
74% of voters back making the Office of Refugee Resettlement more accountable and transparent. Malinowski’s challenge will be to convince voters that Lance is allied with Trump on immigration issues, a point that the five-term Republican congressman will likely dispute.
Several House incumbents are being targeted with similar ads.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated to include comment from the Lance campaign, and at 8:23 PM. new comment from Carter.