Alieta Eck, a physician who lost in a Republican primary blowout to Steve Lonegan in last year’s special Senate election in New Jersey, is following in Lonegan’s footsteps and launching her own House bid on Thursday.

Lonegan, who ultimately lost the special to Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), announced Friday he plans to run for the seat left open by retiring Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.).

Eck is facing a much tougher task; she plans to challenge Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), a well-liked eight-term congressman representing a heavily Democratic district that went for President Obama with nearly 70 percent of the vote in 2012.

Eck’s spokesman told the Star-Ledger that she plans to begin her campaign with a Thursday afternoon event at the Zarephath Health Center in Somerset, N.J., which she founded.