Democrat Malinowski projected to defeat GOP Rep. Lance in New Jersey: NBC News

Key Points
  • Democrat Tom Malinowski is projected to unseat Republican Rep. Leonard Lance in New Jersey's 7th District, according to NBC News. 
  • Lance tried to create a centrist brand in an area where President Donald Trump is highly unpopular. 
Democratic candidate Tom Malinowski.
Julio Cortez | AP

Democrat Tom Malinowski will prevail in New Jersey's 7th District House election, notching a key win for the party in a competitive race against Rep. Leonard Lance, NBC News projects.

The Republican Lance built a centrist brand but could not create enough distance from President Donald Trump. The president and his policies are broadly unpopular in the wealthy district, which Democrat Hillary Clinton narrowly won in 2016.

Malinowski, a 53-year-old former Obama administration State Department official, ran on health care affordability as his top issue. He also slammed the Republican tax plan and pledged to reverse its $10,000 cap on state and local deductions, which affected many affluent residents of the northern New Jersey district.

Will Trump's tax bill make suburban New Jersey turn on Republicans?

Lance voted against his party's tax and health-care plans as he pushed for centrism.

Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to win control of the House, and NBC News projects it to reach that goal.