Leonard Lance

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Leonard Lance
Leonard Lance, official portrait color.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 7th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2009
Preceded by Mike Ferguson
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 23rd district
In office
January 8, 2002 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by William E. Schluter
Succeeded by Marcia Karrow[1]
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly
from the 23rd district
In office
February 21, 1991 – January 8, 2002
Preceded by William E. Schluter
Succeeded by Michael Doherty[2]
Personal details
Born (1952-06-25) June 25, 1952 (age 64)
Easton, Pennsylvania
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Heidi A. Rohrbach
Residence Clinton Township, New Jersey[3]
Alma mater Lehigh University (B.A.)
Vanderbilt University (J.D.)
Princeton University (M.P.A.)
Occupation Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic
Website lance.house.gov

Leonard J. Lance (born June 25, 1952) is the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 7th congressional district, serving since 2009. He is a member of the Republican Party. He previously served in the New Jersey Senate and the New Jersey General Assembly where he had been lauded by legislative peers as a moderate Republican.[4] Since 2009, however, his positions have shifted to conservative Republican positions, such as against environmental regulation, and against Planned Parenthood.[4] He has been a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act[5] and against abortion rights; in 2017 he voted against federally funded insurance plans which provide coverage for abortion.[6][7] He endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 US Presidential election and has said that he's an enthusiastic supporter of the president,[8] although Lance criticized Trump's executive order banning people from entering from predominantly Muslim countries, saying it appeared to be "rushed and poorly implemented."[9][10][11] Lance has opposed efforts to prompt Trump to release his tax returns, prompting widespread booing from an audience of constituents in a town hall meeting in Branchburg.[12]

Early life, education, and early political career[edit]

Lance was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, into a political family. His parents were Anne M. (née Anderson) and Wesley Leonard Lance, who was a State Senator.[13][14] His great-uncle, H. Kiefer Lance, was also active in New Jersey politics.

After attending North Hunterdon High School in Annandale, New Jersey, Lance received a B.A. from Lehigh University in 1974, a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1977 and an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey in 1982.[15]

Leonard Lance served as the law clerk to the Warren County Court in 1977 and 1978. He was assistant counsel for county and municipal matters to Governor of New Jersey Thomas Kean from 1983 to 1990. He was a member of the New Jersey Council on the Humanities during the Whitman Administration by appointment of the Governor.

New Jersey legislature[edit]

Lance served in the New Jersey General Assembly for 11 years (1991–2002) and served in the New Jersey Senate for 7 years (2002–2009). In 2002 he was elected to the New Jersey Senate and held the position of Minority Leader from 2004 to 2008.[15]


In 1987, he first ran for the General Assembly. He lost the Republican primary, ranking third with 17% in New Jersey's 23rd District.[16] Lance was appointed to the New Jersey General Assembly in February 1991 when then-Assemblyman William E. Schluter was appointed to the New Jersey Senate upon the ascension of Dick Zimmer from the New Jersey Senate to the United States House of Representatives in January 1991. After redistricting, Lance ran for the newly redrawn 23rd District in 1991, and won the Republican primary. In the general election, he ranked second with 30%, winning a seat. Incumbent Republican State Assemblyman Chuck Haytaian ranked first in the district with 33%.[17] In 1993, Lance won re-election to a second term with 40%.[18] In 1995, he won re-election to a third term with 34%.[19] In 1997, he won re-election to a fourth term with 30%.[20] In 1999, he won re-election to a fifth term with 36%.[2]

After redistricting, he ran for the New Jersey Senate in 2001 in the 23rd District. He defeated Democrat Frederick P. Cook 69%–31%.[21] In 2003, he won re-election to a second term with 68%.[22] In 2007, he won re-election to a third term with 67%.[1]

Committee assignments[edit]

In the general assembly, he served as the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee from 2000 to 2002 and the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, when it handled the state budget, from 1996 to 2000. While Appropriations Committee Chairman, the committee oversaw state finances, taxation and spending on individual legislation, while budget issues were passed to a separate Budget Committee.

He served on the Joint Budget Oversight Committee, the Legislative Services Commission and the Budget and Appropriations Committee.[15] As Republican Budget Officer, he served as the Ranking Minority Member of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, along with serving as the Republican Senate Caucus' chief point person on budget and finance issues and in budget negotiations.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



In 1996, Leonard Lance sought the Republican nomination to replace Rep. Dick Zimmer, who was retiring from the House of Representatives to run for the United States Senate. Lance ran to represent New Jersey’s 12th congressional district, which at that time included his residence in Clinton Township. Lance finished third in the primary behind Franklin Township Mayor Michael Pappas and New Jersey Senator John O. Bennett III. Pappas went on to win the general election.[23]


In 2008, Lance ran for Congress in the 7th congressional district, which now included his residence in Clinton Township. Republican Rep. Mike Ferguson was retiring after four terms in Congress. In the Republican primary, Lance faced seven candidates including former Summit Council President Kelly Hatfield, Scotch Plains Mayor Martin Marks and Kate Whitman, daughter of former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman.[24] On June 3, 2008, Lance won the Republican primary with 40% of the vote.[25]

In the general election, Lance faced New Jersey Assemblywoman Linda Stender of Scotch Plains as well as three independent and third party candidates. Stender had run against Rep. Ferguson in 2006 and lost narrowly.[26] The Cook Political Report rated the race as a "toss up."[27] Lance was endorsed by the New York Times.[28] On November 4th, Lance defeated Stender by 10 points, 51% to 41%. Lance was one of two Republicans elected for the first time in a district that President Barack Obama won. [29]

In the 2008 presidential primaries, Rep. Lance supported Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.[30] He later endorsed John McCain.[31]


In 2010, Rep. Lance was challenged in the Republican primary by businessman David Larsen of Oldwick, IT consultant Alonzo Hosford of Milford, and real estate appraiser Bruce Baker of Westfield. Lance won the primary with 56% of the vote, ahead of Larsen with 31%, Hosford with 8% and Baker with 5%.[32] [33]

Unlike the 2008 election, the 2010 7th district general election race was not considered competitive.[34] Lance defeated educator Ed Potosnak 59% to 41%.[35]


After redistricting, Rep. Lance’s district no longer included Democrat-leaning parts of Middlesex County. The 7th congressional district gained parts of conservative Warren and Morris counties. It also was redrawn to include all of Hunterdon County.[36]

In the Republican congressional primary, Rep. Lance was challenged for a second time by David Larsen. Lance defeated Larsen 61% to 39%.[37] In the general election, Lance defeated New Jersey Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula 57% to 40%.[38]

In the Republican presidential primaries, Rep. Lance endorsed Mitt Romney.[39]


Rep. Lance was challenged for a third time for the Republican nomination by David Larsen. Rep. Lance defeated Larsen 54% to 46%.[40]

In the general election, Lance defeated Town of Clinton Mayor Janice Kovachs 59% to 39%.[41]


In the 2016 Republican congressional primary, Rep. Lance was challenged by David Larsen for a fourth time. Businessman Craig Heard of Roxbury also ran in the primary. Lance won the primary with 54% of the vote, ahead of Larsen with 33% and Heard with 13%.[42] [43]

In the general election, Rep. Lance faced social worker Peter Jacob. Jacob was one of 27 congressional canddiates endorsed by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.[44] [45] Rep. Lance defeated Jacob 54% to 43%.[46]

In the 2016 presidential primaries, Rep. Lance endorsed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Rep. Lance later endorsed Donald Trump for the general election.[47]


Lance voted against continued funding to Planned Parenthood, a national women's reproductive health care provider that also performs abortions.[citation needed] He also joined his party in opposing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, and 2009 "war supplemental",[citation needed] while breaking with it in voting for the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. During President Bush's tenure and while he was still in the state senate, Lance openly voiced support for the Iraq War.

In June 2009 Lance was one of only eight Republicans in the House of Representatives to break with their party and vote for the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Lance had campaigned as a strong advocate for environmental protection and reduction of American dependence on foreign oil. In supporting the bill, Lance cited the bill's economic benefits for New Jersey, the fact that it would not enlarge the national debt, estimates by the Energy Information Administration and Congressional Budget Office suggesting that costs to consumers would be minimal, and its goal of reducing American dependence on foreign oil.

In 2011, Lance left the House Financial Services Committee and was appointed to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Lance voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,[48] and has been at the forefront of action to encourage the Supreme Court to review the legislation. Lance is a member of the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership.

Lance critiqued President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to temporarily curtail Muslim immigration until better screening methods are devised. He stated that "While I do support increased vetting of individuals applying to travel from countries with extensive terrorist ties or activity, the President’s current travel ban executive order appears rushed and poorly implemented.”[49]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus Memberships
  • Congressional Arts Caucus
  • Congressional Israel Allies Caucus
  • House Republican Israel Caucus
  • Rare Disease Caucus

Lance is a co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus. The caucus focuses on the relationship between the United States and Israel. It is one of the largest organizations of Members of Congress, in terms of membership numbers.[50] Lance has served as a co-chairman since at least 2011.[51] Additionally, Lance is a member the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus. The caucus is sponsored by the Israel Allies Foundation, a group that promotes communication between legislative members in different countries and supports the right of Israel to exist in peace.[52][53]

Lance also serves as the Republican chairman of the Rare Disease Caucus. The goal of the caucus is to get Members of Congress to support passing bills that help people who suffer from rare diseases.[54] Seventy-six Members of Congress are caucus members.[55]

Notable legislation[edit]

In 2013, Lance re-introduced the Modernizing Our Drug and Diagnostic Evaluation and Regulatory Network Cures (MODDERN) Act, a bipartisan bill intended to encourage new innovative treatments for a variety of diseases and ailments. The MODDERN Drug Act proposes to reevaluate and reintroduce drugs that were once in the development phase, back into production and testing. This bill would benefit patients suffering from a variety of ailments including but not limited to: degenerative conditions, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.[54]


Lance was one of nine lawmakers investigated by the House Ethics Committee for taking a trip in May 2013 to Turkey and Azerbaijan paid for by the Azerbaijan state-owned oil company;[56] Lance was later cleared of wrongdoing by the committee.[57] In January 2017, several thousand protesters, mostly women, marched to Lance's office in Westfield, New Jersey as part of the 2017 Women's March to protest GOP policies and advocate for women’s rights, human rights, LGBTQ, climate change, gun control, and other issues.[58][59] In Watchung in 2017, citizens groups opposed to the policies of Donald Trump vowed to hold representatives accountable, and specifically targeted Lance and senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez accountable to the wishes of voters, not the president.[60]

Personal life[edit]

Lance married his wife, Heidi A. Rohrbach, who is a VP at JPMorgan Chase, in August 1996. They have a son, named Peter Frank.[61] He is a former trustee of the Newark Museum, of Centenary College in Hackettstown and of McCarter Theatre in Princeton.


  1. ^ a b "NJ State Senate 23 Race – Nov 06, 2007". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  2. ^ a b "NJ General Assembly 23 Race – Nov 04, 1999". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  3. ^ "Congressman Leonard Lance : Biography". Lance.house.gov. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  4. ^ a b Tom Moran, May 22, 2011, Star-Ledger, The curious transformation of N.J. Congressman Leonard Lance, Retrieved January 29, 2017, "......"
  5. ^ Sue Epstein, January 6, 2016, NJ.com, 650K N.J. residents could lose health coverage under Obamacare vote by GOP, Retrieved January 28, 2019
  6. ^ Katie Kausch, January 26, 2017, Patch, Rep. Lance Votes In Favor Of Anti-Abortion Bill, Retrieved January 26, 2017
  7. ^ GovTrack, January 13, 2017, On Motion to Recommit with Instructions: H.R. 7: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017, Accessed January 29, 2017
  8. ^ nj.com, Star-Ledger Editorial Board, May 7, 2016, Trump's 'cancer' spreading to N.J.'s GOP, Retrieved December 20, 2016, "...Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7th) is the saddest case. Once admired as a hero in Trenton, he was a man of great integrity, and someone who was dethroned from his budget committee chair because he refused to put party ahead of principle. He was even a true environmentalist, only that was forgotten as soon as he got to Washington. ... Here's what Lance says now: "...Donald Trump will have my enthusiastic support for President."..."
  9. ^ Aaron Blake, January 29, 2017, Washington Post, Whip Count: Here’s where Republicans stand on Trump’s controversial travel ban, Retrieved January 29, 2017
  10. ^ Aaron Blake, January 30, 2017, Washington Post, Whip Count: Here’s where Republicans stand on Trump’s controversial travel ban, Retrieved January 30, 2017, "... the President’s current travel ban executive order appears rushed and poorly implemented..."
  11. ^ Jonathan D. Salant, January 29, 2017, Star-Ledger, NJ.com, 1st Republican Congressman from N.J. criticizes Trump on immigration order, Retrieved January 30, 2017
  12. ^ Jeanne Sahadi and Jordan Malter (February 23, 2017). "Republicans face tough questions about Trump's tax returns at town halls". CNN. Retrieved February 23, 2016. ...When asked to give a "yes or no" answer as to whether he'd support Democrats' effort on Ways and Means to obtain the president's returns, Lance said "[it] goes too far" and suggested it would be an "overreach" for Congress to examine the returns of a "private individual."...the questioner pushed back, "He's the President! He's not a private individual!"... 
  13. ^ Hon. Leonard Lance (MPA '82), Princeton University Policy Research Institute for the Region. Accessed May 11, 2007.
  14. ^ "leonard lance". 
  15. ^ a b c Senator Lance's legislative web page, New Jersey Legislature. Retrieved April 16, 2008.
  16. ^ "NJ General Assembly 23 – R Primary Race – Jun 02, 1987". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  17. ^ "NJ General Assembly 23 Race – Nov 05, 1991". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  18. ^ "NJ General Assembly 23 Race – Nov 02, 1993". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  19. ^ "NJ General Assembly 23 Race – Nov 07, 1995". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  20. ^ "NJ General Assembly 23 Race – Nov 04, 1997". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  21. ^ "NJ State Senate 23 Race – Nov 06, 2001". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  22. ^ "NJ State Senate 23 Race – Nov 04, 2003". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  23. ^ "NJ District 12 – R Primary Race – Jun 04, 1996". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  24. ^ {{cite web|url=http://www.nj.com/south/index.ssf/2008/05/some_things_readers_should_kno.html ["Some things readers should know about NJ's June 3 primary election"], "The Star-Ledger", May 17, 2008. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  25. ^ {{cite web|url=http://www.njelections.org/election-results/2008-official-pri-elect-house-candidate-tallies-071108.pdf Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  26. ^ http://www.westfieldleader.com/06nov09/06nov09.pdf
  27. ^ http://cookpolitical.com/archive/chart/house/race-ratings/2008-11-04_13-32-49
  28. ^ "For the House". New York Times. 
  29. ^ http://frontloading.blogspot.com/2009/03/2008-electoral-college-by-congressional.html
  30. ^ https://www2.gwu.edu/~action/2008/romney/romneyorgnj.html
  31. ^ http://www.nj.com/reporter/index.ssf/2008/10/local_republicans_to_hold_john.html
  32. ^ http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/06/us_rep_lance_clinches_republic.html
  33. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=643628
  34. ^ http://cookpolitical.com/archive/chart/house/race-ratings/2010-11-01_12-12-36
  35. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=496869
  36. ^ http://www.politico.com/story/2011/12/nj-remap-a-setback-for-democrats-070817
  37. ^ http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat/index.ssf/2012/06/lance_defeats_larsen_in_7th_di.html
  38. ^ http://www.politico.com/2012-election/results/house/new-jersey/
  39. ^ http://blogs.app.com/capitolquickies/2011/10/26/u-s-rep-leonard-lance-endorses-romney/
  40. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/elections/2014/results/primaries/new-jersey
  41. ^ http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/elections/index.ssf/2014/11/district_7_race_leonard_lance.html
  42. ^ http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/06/nj_primary_election_results_2016_us_congress.html
  43. ^ https://www.tapinto.net/towns/roxbury/articles/roxburys-craig-heard-aims-to-oust-lance-in-gop-p
  44. ^ http://observer.com/2016/08/new-bernie-sanders-org-endorses-cd7-challenger-jacob/
  45. ^ https://ourrevolution.com/election-2016/
  46. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/new-jersey-house-district-7-lance-jacob
  47. ^ http://www.newjerseyhills.com/mt_olive_chronicle/news/reluctantly-lance-still-backing-trump-for-president/article_5c3b2155-74f3-5c8c-ac83-588d1f195710.html
  48. ^ "Lance Poised to Vote to Repeal Costly Health Care Law". lance.house.gov. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  49. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved 30 January 2017. 
  50. ^ Lance, Leonard (27 January 2015). "Lance To Lead Israel Caucus for 114th Congress" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Congressman Leonard Lance. Retrieved 28 January 2015 – via TAPinto. 
  51. ^ Lance, Leonard (8 February 2011). "House Republican Israel Caucus Announces Co-Chairs" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Congressman Leonard Lance. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  52. ^ "Congressional Israel Allies Caucus". Israel Allies Foundation. Washington, D.C. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  53. ^ "About the Israel Allies Foundation". Israel Allies Foundation. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  54. ^ a b "Congressman Leonard Lance will continue as Republican Chair of Congressional Rare Disease Caucus". 
  55. ^ "Rare Disease Congressional Caucus". National Organization for Rare Disorders. Danbury, CT. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  56. ^ Jonathan D. Salant, June 22, 2015, NJ.com, House ethics panel continues probe of Lance trip, Retrieved January 26, 2017, "...questions arose about whether the trips complied with the requirements for such travel...."
  57. ^ Jonathan D. Salant, August 1, 2015, NJ.com, N.J. Rep. Lance cleared in House ethics probe, Retrieved January 26, 2017, "...Because the House travelers acted in good faith, and the evidence was inconclusive as to the true source of funds for the travel, the committee concluded that the trips did not constitute an impermissible gift of travel, ..."
  58. ^ Jackie Lieberman, TAPinto, Women’s March in Westfield Attracts Thousands, Retrieved January 26, 2017, "... the crowd walked along North Avenue through Downtown Westfield to Congressman Leonard Lance’s office at 425 North Ave. East..."
  59. ^ Kelly Heyboer, January 18, 2017, NJ.com, Women's March to include 6 'sister marches' in N.J. on Saturday, Retrieved January 26, 2017, "..Marchers are scheduled to gather in front of the Lord & Taylor on North Avenue in Westfield and march about a half mile to the office of Rep. Leonard Lance (R- 7th Dist.)...."
  60. ^ ALEX PARKER-MAGYAR, Echoes Sentinel, January 25, 2017, Watchung Hills residents 'VOW' to hold representatives accountable under Trump, Retrieved January 26, 2017, "...citizens group, ... aims to hold politicians - namely Rep. Leonard Lance, R-7, ... accountable to the voters, not the wishes of the new president...."
  61. ^ Heidi Rohrbach, Leonard Lance, NY Times, August 11, 1996, retrieved July 17, 2011 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mike Ferguson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 7th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Lynn Jenkins
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Blaine Luetkemeyer
New Jersey General Assembly
Preceded by
William Schluter
New Jersey State Assemblyman – District 23
January 1991 – January 2002
Succeeded by
Michael J. Doherty
New Jersey Senate
Preceded by
William Schluter
New Jersey State Senator – District 23
January 2002 – January 2009
Succeeded by
Marcia A. Karrow
Political offices
Preceded by
Office Vacant During Two Year Equally Divided Senate
Minority Leader of the New Jersey Senate
January 13, 2004 – January 8, 2008
Succeeded by
Thomas Kean Jr.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robert Littell
Republican Budget Officer of the New Jersey Senate
January 8, 2008 – January 3, 2009
Succeeded by
Anthony Bucco