Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado was in New Jersey last night at an out-of-district event in Hoboken to raise money for NJ-7 repeat challenger Ed Potosnak.
Polis spoke about the importance of the 7th District and why it’s a key to taking back the House in 2012. Of course, we don’t know how the 7th will be reconfigured after congressional redistricting, and the possibility New Jersey will be redrawn to force a showdown between a Republican and Democratic incumbent in central Jersey is very real.
At the moment in the current 7th, we’re looking at a primary on the Democratic side, with Potosnak, the candidate in 2010 competing for the nomination with Jun Choi, former mayor of Edison.
And there’s an interesting wrinkle there. Choi has been telling potential supporters that he was drafted to challenge GOP incumbent Leonard Lance by the DCCC itself. That may be true, certainly. But it is Jared Polis who chairs DCCC’s Red to Blue program, which NJ-7 Dem challengers, like Linda Stender, have been chosen for before, and the District is likely to receive that program’s boost and attention in 2012.
Polis, like Frank Lautenberg, is one of the richest men in Congress, with a business portfolio that includes Pro Flowers and several internet-based companies. He’s a Princeton alum. And swimming upstream against a tide of GOP antagonism toward teachers, Polis is the founder of a teacher recognition program in his home state. Potosnak, a small business owner now, is a former chemistry teacher at Bridgewater-Raritan Regional HS.
The visiting congressman, who is the first openly gay man elected to the House as a freshman, also discussed the value of a more diverse Congress, and how after Tammy Baldwin is elected to the Senate in Wisconsin (I hope), there will be only three openly gay members, and he hopes Ed would be the fourth.