P.T. Barnum was right

How would you like to send some money to the wealthiest member of New Jersey’s congressional delegation? Doesn’t make much sense, since Tom MacArthur spent $5 million of his own money two years ago to buy his seat – the most spent that cycle in a self-funded campaign. The money was well spent – with mostly negative radio and television ads telling outright lies about his opponent Aimee Belgard.

The gist of TMac's 2014 campaign, describing an accomplished attorney, environmentalist, and women's rights activist as "Zero"

The gist of TMac’s 2014 campaign, describing an accomplished attorney, environmentalist, and women’s rights activist as “Zero”

But there’s a sucker born every minute. And they freely give their money to the man who doesn’t need it. Burlington County Times reporter Dave Levinsky writes that MacArthur has received $1.2 million in campaign contributions so far this cycle. Obviously, MacArthur doesn’t need the money. But that’s not the way politics works. Money buys influence. Among the larges contributors to MacArthur’s re-election campaign are defense contractor Lockheed Martin and telecommunications oligopoly Comcast.

Meanwhile, Levinsky reports that MacArthur’s opponent, Fred LaVergne, did not file the required quarterly financial statement with the Federal Election Commission.

No doubt, we’ll see a lot of negative campaigning on both sides. That appears to be the norm these days. But in a district that encompasses the largest (New York) and fifth largest (Philadelphia) media markets, the big winners here are the television and radio stations that will reap the spoils of this campaign and not the people of the Third Congressional District.

Comments (2)

  1. deciminyan (Post author)

    Further inspection of the FEC filing shows that TMac accepted over $10,000 from Excelon. That’s the company that owns the Oyster Creek nuke in his district. The plant is scheduled to close down in 2019, and Excelon’s feet must be held to the fire to remediate the site and make it safe without spending taxpayer money. I guess we can’t count on our congressman to make sure that happens.

  2. ken bank

    I’ll play devil’s advocate. TMacs ads against Belgard were rather tame compared to the millions spent by the DCCC on negative ads against TMac which were so close to libel/slander they had to be pulled after only a few days. TMac won because he’s smart, politically savvy, has had two of the best political operators in the district with Frank Luna and Chris Russell on his team, is personally likeable and has good relationships with veterans groups and blue collar labor unions. Even the AFL-CIO endorsed his re-election.


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