Republicans in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District are fortunate to have three earnest, smart candidates seeking the party’s nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. Ann McLane Kuster in the November general election.
Former state Sen. Gary Lambert of Nashua is The Telegraph’s choice in this primary.
A lawyer by trade, Lambert is also a 35-year veteran who rose to the rank of colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. That counts for something, in our book, and reflects a fundamental decency and trustworthiness of character.
The differences on the issues between Lambert and his primary opponents, Marilinda Garcia and Jim Lawrence, are largely ones of degree. All attack Obamacare, support the Second Amendment, rail against the president on foreign policy and oppose the Northern Pass proposal to import Canadian hydropower to southern New England via New Hampshire’s North Country.
Garcia, a state representative from Salem, has been called a rising star in the Republican Party, and she may yet emerge as the future of the state GOP, but we think a vote for Garcia would be a vote for something Washington has plenty of already – gridlock.
It’s also fair to wonder to whom she would be answerable. She has been criticized for the number of votes she missed during her four terms in the New Hampshire House, and for going against the wishes of her Salem constituents by voting against a bill to put a casino in town. That raises questions, we think, about how responsive she would be to voters in the 2nd District and who she would really work for.
Garcia is bankrolled by the Koch brothers-wing of the party and would fit right in with the crew of tea-party Republicans who opted, less than a year ago, to shut down the government rather than raise the federal debt ceiling. We’re as worried about the debt as anyone, but electing more people to dig in their heels is not the way to solve our country’s problem.
Garcia, in fact, would be our third choice in this race. We also liked Lawrence, a Hudson resident who jumped into the race late, but offered up some thoughtful answers, especially in the foreign policy realm.
But we think Lambert is the best choice because he is less of an ideologue and more of a pragmatist. He has expressed a willingness to work with anyone – regardless of party – to find solutions, and his time in the Senate suggests that his actions match his words. Voters should welcome such open-mindedness.
Lambert has been criticized by some Republicans for supporting the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative when he was in the Senate. He explains it as a vote for fiscal prudence, but we think that is beside the point. In New Hampshire, we don’t expect our politicians to apologize for votes to protect our natural resources.
Perhaps the biggest thing to recommend Lambert is that he is not a career politician and has no desire to become one. He served just one term in Concord and says he will serve no more than three terms in the U.S. House if elected. He also would not accept a congressional pension and believes members of Congress shouldn’t be paid if they don’t pass a budget.
“People are tired of business as usual,” Lambert said on the day he signed up to run.
Yes they are, and for voters who believe we need less gridlock and don’t rely on Fox News to do their thinking for them, Gary Lambert is clearly the best Republican choice in the 2nd District House race.