Before Friday’s big Newark rally with DNC’s new Chair Tom Perez and Deputy Chair Keith Ellison, there was a little pre-reception to meet the two. It was by invitation, and besides local Essex electeds, the leaders of activist organizations fighting in NJ11 & NJ07 comprised most of the invitees. I was there with Joey Novick, repping Progressive Hunterdon Democrats.Perez and Ellison ran against each other for DNC Chair; Perez as the establishment wing’s choice and Ellison the pick of reformers ready to push DNC in a new direction. New Jersey was a stop on their ‘unity tour’ of what they say is their shared vision for a more activist, more progressive national party.
In NJ’s two hotbed congressional districts NJ11 & NJ07, capable activist organizations rose up to challenge longtime Republican incumbents. Both incumbents Rodney Frelinghuysen and Leonard Lance are on DCCC’s 2018 target list, but the resistance now shaking up both of them isn’t being run by the established Democratic Party. The non-partisan NJ 11th for Change, which gets back-up from Blue Wave, is focused on Frelinghuysen. Challenging Lance is a group of (amazing) orgs now often working together, including Progressive Hunterdon Democrats, which is Democrat but loosely tied to the less-active county party.
I have to give a shout-out to NJ 11th for Change here, and share with you their excellent video, of how many people tried to get Frelinghuysen to come out and meet his constituents in a town hall. Things were different in my NJ07; Lance was the first GOP congressman whose district went to Hillary to have a town hall – and he had two, and has another coming up next Wednesday in Flanders). But Rodney? NJ 11th for Change and many of his constituents tried hard with him, and when he ignored them they met anyway without him. I love this video: