by Jessica Coomes
Originally published Feb. 2, 2009
Less than a month after U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance, R-Hunterdon, took office, a national Democratic organization is airing ads in his congressional district, criticizing his vote against an $819 billion economic stimulus package.
The radio spots, which debut today and will run for a week, are paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the same group that provided significant financial support on behalf of Democrat Linda Stender, Lance's opponent in the November election.
The Democratic committee now is targeting ads at 28 Republican House members, all of whom joined their party in voting against a Democratic-sponsored stimulus bill last week. No House Republican supported the package, though the Democratic majority was able to pass it.
On Monday, Lance's chief of staff, Todd Mitchell, reiterated why the congressman voted against the stimulus bill: "The House-passed stimulus legislation is a $1.1 trillion spending package that was not developed in a spirit of bipartisanship. The Democrat leadership should follow the lead of President Barack Obama in being willing to consider Republican ideas that reduce wasteful spending and help create jobs for middle-class families and small businesses."
When Lance voted against the bill, he called the package "wasteful spending," citing provisions that would not stimulate the economy, including $1 billion for the upcoming census, $650 million for digital TV converter boxes, and $600 million for government vehicles.
"I hope the stimulus bill that moves through the Senate contains improvements and suggestions from the Republican side of the aisle," Lance said at the time. "I will review it when it comes back to the House of Representatives to see if it has become a better bill. We can do better."
The Senate this week is taking up its version of the stimulus bill.
Lance is the only Republican in New Jersey or Pennsylvania to be singled out in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's latest ads.
"We will continue to go district by district to hold Republicans who continue to vote in lockstep with party leaders and against the folks in their districts accountable," Brian Wolff, the committee's executive director, said.
The Democratic group released a transcript of the short radio spot: "Did you know Congressman Leonard Lance voted against economic recovery to immediately create and save over 171,000 New Jersey jobs? Times are tough; tell Leonard Lance to put families before politics."
Ryan Rudominer, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, would not say how much the organization spent on the Lance ads.
Rudominer said the committee is choosing not to say which radio station or stations in New Jersey are running the spot.
Despite the Democratic committee's efforts on behalf of Stender during the 2008 election, Lance won the district to replace retired Republican congressman Mike Ferguson.