“Twenty dollars in their pockets, hearts full of hope, and me in their arms.”
That’s how Peter Jacob describes the situation when his parents came to America in 1986. Peter was six months old. Now, in a storybook illustration of the American Dream, Peter Jacob is running for Congress in New Jersey’s seventh district.
He has a steep hill to climb. His opponent, Congressman Leonard Lance, has been victorious over Mayor Janice Kovach, Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, and Assemblywoman Linda Stender.
But the malleable Lance, who was a popular moderate when he served in the New Jersey legislature, took a sharp turn to the right in his stint in Congress. A progressive Democrat in politics, Jacob needs to appeal to a wide range of voters in a district that spans the width of the state and includes urban, suburban, and rural voters.
If voters are tired of the Tea Party rhetoric and disdain for getting things done, it might be a close race. Certainly (and as Jacob points out in this interview), Lance will have the money advantage from those who seek favors from Congress. The question is whether Jacob can drum up enough enthusiasm among voters and ride the coattails of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders to victory in New Jersey’s Seventh.
The thirty-year-old social worker talked to Blue Jersey on Thursday about his proposed path to victory as well as his positions on the myriad issues that polarize Congress today.