Here is NJEA’s endorsement list for NJ 2014 congressional races:
U.S. Senate: Cory Booker (D)
CD-1: Donald Norcross (D)
CD-2: Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo (R)
CD-3: Aimee Belgard (D)
CD-4: No endorsement
CD-5: Roy Cho (D)
CD-6: Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D)
CD-8: Rep. Albio Sires (D)
CD-9: Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D)
CD-10: Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D)
CD-11: Mark Dunec (D)
CD-12: Bonnie Watson Coleman (D)
One of these things is not like the other.
NJEA is endorsing Rep. Frank LoBiondo in CD2, over the Democrat running, Bill Hughes, who lists “strengthening education” second behind jobs on the issues page of his website, and who is married to a school board member.
I talked to NJEA spokesperson Kathy Coulibaly about this. She explained that the LoBiondo endorsement is a “carryover” from NJEA’s endorsement of him in the GOP primary. That seems odd to me, for 3 reasons:
(1) This isn’t the primary, and the cast of characters has changed. LoBiondo’s not running against 26-year-old tea party activist Mike Assad (Absecon School Board member, who also opposed LoBo in 2012). That race ended June 3 (LoBiondo 82.4% Assad 17.6%).
(2) The “friendly incumbent rule:” (see this, bottom). And he’s pulled his NEA rating up from just 42% (2003) to a teacherly “A” (2013). I’m told that’s largely based on votes against vouchers – good, OK. But I’m also told this:
(3) LoBiondo chairs the House Republican Labor Caucus. And wait … you heard yourself say House of Representatives, right? Labor caucus, good. But it’s still the Republican Party. They are committed to busting up your union, any union, demonizing teachers and undermining public education as a way of opening routes to privatization. And they perennially campaign on abolishing the U.S. Department of Education.
These people don’t like you. Gov. Christie has tried to make a laughing stock out of your members, NJEA. Routinely. Christie endorses LoBo, too. And vice-versa. Really, you don’t see a problem?
But beyond that, it’s just … odd … that NJEA’s endorsement doesn’t seem to take into account Bill Hughes at all, who lists education just behind jobs on his campaign site, is married to a school board member, and very likely supports plenty of the same aims NJEA does. [Note: I’ll be talking to Hughes within the next few hours, and will update].
I’m not a member of the NJEA, my commentary isn’t their bread-and-butter. They have no reason to give a damn what I think (well, maybe a little). But good luck to the rest of the list.
NJ’s 2nd congressional district is made up of all of Atlantic, Cape May, Salem and Cumberland counties, plus parts of Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Ocean counties. The Burlington County portion consists of Bass River and Washington.