Third Republican enters 2nd Congressional District primary
Former state representative Jim Lawrence of Hudson will jump into the 2nd Congressional District Republican primary tomorrow, making him the first black person in the state to be on the ballot for Congress. Democrat Joanne Dowdell ran for Congress in 2012 but dropped out before the official filing period began.
Lawrence, 42, will file his paperwork to run at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow. He’ll face state Rep. Marilinda Garcia of Salem and former state senator Gary Lambert of Nashua in the Republican primary for the right to challenge Democratic incumbent Annie Kuster. Both Garcia and Lambert have been in the race for months, giving them a significant jump on fundraising and securing supporters. Lawrence will file his paperwork alongside Eddie Edwards, a former police chief and chief enforcement officer for the liquor commissioner running for state Senate. Secretary of State Bill Gardner said that, to his knowledge, Edwards is the first black man to run for state Senate. In a press release yesterday, campaign manager Casey Crane, who ran Joe Kenney’s successful bid for Executive Council earlier this year, emphasized the historic nature of both candidacies.
“This is a proud moment for our state. These men are a role model for young minorities,” she said in a statement. Lawrence will not be speaking to the news media until he files, Crane said.
Lawrence was born in the Bronx, N.Y., and graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy. He served three terms in the New Hampshire House, from 2002 to 2008. During his time in the House, he served on the Fish and Game and Science, Technology and Energy committees.
He now runs a Nashua-based business, Lawrence Battalle Inc., which provides financial services, program management processes and IT solutions for other businesses, according to its website. This business experience will be a major piece of Lawrence’s campaign, Crane said. He’ll also focus his campaign on fighting for limited government and getting the federal government out of health care, education and small-business overregulation.
Based on rankings from the conservative House Republican Alliance, Lawrence was one of the House’s most conservative members during his final term, scoring a 98 percent rating from the group. His score was lower in the 2005-06 session, when he voted against right-to-work legislation. But after voting in favor of killing right-to-work legislation in 2006, he voted to advance it in 2007, according to roll calls available on the General Court website.
Lawrence also supported requiring photo identification to vote, expanding the use of deadly force and requiring parental notification for abortions. He voted against raising the minimum wage from $6.50 to $7.25 an hour in 2007.
Jumping into the race nearly six months after his competitors means Lawrence will have an uphill climb to peel off support and raise money. Both Lambert and Garcia have several state representatives behind them and have the benefit of shaking hands and meeting voters for the past six months, although neither posted significant fundraising numbers during the first quarter of the year. Between January and March, Garcia raised $69,000 and Lambert raised $75,000, which is well below the $402,000 that Kuster brought in. The next fundraising filing deadline for federal candidates is June 30.
(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kronayne.)