Cook Report Moves Two GOP Districts Left

As a result of the alleged “repeal and replace” vote that doesn’t wholly repeal or replace Obamacare, the Cook Political Report has moved 20 districts nationally toward Democrats.  This includes two in New Jersey.

NJ-03: Rep. Tom MacArthur (R) – South central: Burlington, Toms River
Likely Republican. The last few cycles, former insurance executive MacArthur’s personal wealth has scared top-tier Democrats away from running. But his new role as the architect of House Republicans’ healthcare compromise could make him a target. Rhodes Scholar Andy Kim, who served as an ISIS expert in the Obama White House, is moving back to Burlington County to run, but Democrats badly need to make inroads into Ocean County to have a chance.

NJ-07: Rep. Leonard Lance (R)
– North central: Flemington, Bridgewater, Summit
Lean Republican. Lance voted against the GOP’s repeal bill on the House floor, but Democrats intend to use his vote to advance the legislation in committee against him instead. President Trump lost this highly educated district by a point, and Lance was held to 54 percent against a Democrat who barely ran ads. Banker Linda Weber is running, and there are multiple other potential candidates who could self-fund a race.

MacArthur’s in the safest district, but he is hurting after putting forward a “compromise” with the radical right Freedom Caucus. He has been the “leader” of the “moderate” “Tuesday Caucus” in the House, but there’s a revolt to replace him for unilaterally capitulating to the right. MacArthur is a carpetbagger who was Mayor in the northern town of Randolph before district shopping with his vacation home to take his seat. He’s got boatloads of cash and is in a safe-ish district, but if moderates kick him out of the caucus and he’s tied to Trump there’s a good narrative of him as out of touch with his constituents. A very solid candidate could make the difference and flip the district.

Lance’s district is less safe, voting for Obama and Clinton in the past few elections and even very Republican Somerset County (no county-wide Dem has won since 1979) has more registered Democrats than Republicans. As noted above, Lance voted against the final bill but did support the early version in committee. He also voted a few dozen times over the past seven years to repeal Obamacare, so has a record of backing Obamacare repeal 97% of the time. There’s a good chance that an excellent candidate and some clean messaging about Lance’s transition from truth-telling NJ State Senator to lapdog Republican House member could give Dems another seat.

 

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