BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — A short drive from President Donald Trump's Bedminster golf club, where residents can hear helicopter blades whir when the president touches down at his "Summer White House," Trump and the tax plan he signed into law last year will help to define one of this year's pivotal House races.
As Republican Rep. Leonard Lance runs for re-election in a district Trump narrowly lost in 2016, he has kept the president at arm's length. The fifth-term representative voted against the House GOP health-care plan after previously opposing Obamacare. He pushed for a less conservative immigration overhaul than the one the president has demanded.
But the tax plan Lance's party passed last year is more thorny for the representative. It will nick many voters in his high-income, high-tax district, where residents take the largest average state and local tax, or SALT, deductions outside of New York and California. The tax overhaul's $10,000 limit on those tax breaks was the main reason Lance and 10 other GOP House members from California, New York and New Jersey opposed it.
"I favored certain portions of [the tax plan.] … However, I want full deductibility of state and local taxes," Lance, 66, told CNBC in August. "That's an important issue here in New Jersey. And perhaps at an even more fundamental level, I have always been a deficit hawk."