Former NJ Senate hopeful to challenge Holt

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.

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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.