2018: The NJ path toward flipping Republican congressional districts – Part II: Tom MacArthur’s CD3

Part II looks at the incumbent Republican Representative Tom MacArthur (CD 3) – he of much wealth but a tarnished reputation in today’s era of Trump decline. Can we flip this district? Yes we can. But it will require considerable effort.

A recurring theme in this series is the importance of increasing Democratic voter registration either through new voters or people who wish to change from Unaffiliated to Democrat. Candidates for public office access registration & voting records (not voting results). They ignore voters of the opposite party, pay less or no attention to the fickle Unaffiliated voters, and concentrate their efforts on registered voters of their own party. They send them mailers, invite them to town halls and telephone conferences, ask them to volunteer, give them lawn signs, knock on their door and on election day phone or stop by to ensure turnout. The more people are registered to a party the more effective the candidate can be.

As will be presented for each of the six districts, below is the incumbent representative followed by congressional election years with its registered voters by Unaffiliated, Democrat, and Republican / Election winner, challenger, results / and in Presidential years President by winner, challenger and results. (I indicates incumbent): 

CD 3 Tom MacArthur (R-I) Note: a district in 2010 with a Dem. Rep.
2010 U: 215,020, D: 130,019, R: 112,516 / Runyan (R): 110,215, Adler: (D I): 104,252
2012 U: 240,258, D: 131,179, R: 121,650 / Runyan (R-I): 174,257, Adler (D:) 145,509 / Presidential: Obama: 52%, Romney: 47%
2014 U: 237,648, D: 130,753, R: 122,441 / MacArthur (R): 100,471, Belgard (D): 82,537
2016 U: 230,084, D: 152,432, R: 140,286 / MacArthur: 194,596, Lavergne (D): 127,526 / Presidential: Trump: 51%, Clinton: 45%

So what does the above mean? 

A district in 2010 in the hands of a Democrat has since swung to Runyan (R) and more recently to the multi-millionaire MacArthur (R) (pictured left), but it maintains slightly more registered D’s than R’s. In this largely urban, white district the result of three of these races has been fairly close, but the 4th and most recent was a sizable victory for MacArthur. 2018 could be the tipping point. Yesterday’s rally in CD 3 against MacArthur’s reverse Robin Hood tax plan was another step forward.

MacArthur self-funded almost all of his 2014 race and currently has a relatively low $864,590.21 Cash on Hand, but if he cannot get enough donors for 2018 he has more of his own money to spend. Knocking him off the incumbent pedestal after two elections under his belt will not be easy.

He voted in January against “Repeal and Replace” of the Affordable Care Act, but he then played a key role in Republican efforts to try again to replace the ACA with measures that had the support of the most conservative House members. In his district the number of uninsured would have more than doubled by 2026, a higher percentage than anywhere in the state. His buddy Trump provided his Bedminster golf course for a MacArthur fundraiser. The bill passed the House but not the Senate. His vote in support of the GOP bill, along with Rep. Frelinghuysen, was in contrast with the other 10 members of the NJ delegation. Although he said he had “no regrets,” he was left holding the bag of a bill scorned by Democrats and other constituents.

MacArthur voted against the ugly 2018 Budget Resolution which provided a framework for “tax reform.” However, he now says the tax plan “offers a huge win to middle class,” which is BS and particularly more so in high state tax NJ. If he sticks with this position and the bill passes, which is still questionable, his middle class constituents will be royally pissed off once they see the damage to their pocketbooks.

On DACA he has said, “We need to fix our nation’s immigration system but starting this process by hurting the most innocent and vulnerable population would be wrong and misguided.” Perhaps surprisingly, according to the Conservative Review, as of 11/13/2017, he was ranked as the least conservative of his NJ Republican compadres, with 13 liberal votes and 5 conservative votes – a score of 28%. Nonetheless, a conservative he remains, just not like the 18 Republican wingnuts from other states who scored 100%.

Andy Kim

White House National Security expert and Rhodes Scholar Andy Kim (D) is already running for the 3rd District spot. He says, “Millionaires like Tom MacArthur are out of touch with the struggles that Americans face. We need new leadership in my home distric where President Obama won twice. MacArthur has quickly become Trump’s biggest supporter.” In October in front of pro-gun MacArthur’s office, the Brady Campaign organized a demonstration with Andy Kim as the keynote speaker. Learn more about Kim here. He currently has $216,223.88 in Cash on Hand, a good beginning, but he will need much more to defeat the wealthy and wily MacArthur.

It was good news in the 2017 elections that Burlington County, which makes up half of his 3rd District, went Democratic at the county level and came within a few hundred votes of huge upsets in an Assembly race not even Democrats thought was competitive. The Cook Political Report still ranks CD 3 as “Likely Republican,” and Trump won the congressional district in 2016 by 51% to 45%. Nonetheless a win here is within our grasp.

All registered voter and election results from NJ Division of Elections: Election Information Archive, except whereas otherwise indicated in Presidential results.

Part I in this series provides introductory information and a deep dive into CD (2) where Republican Rep. Frank LoBiondo is retiring and the district has more Democrats than Republicans. Read it here.  Part III will look at CD 4 and CD 5.

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