UPDATE: Late reports indicate that the South Jersey Democratic machine will encourage and support the most conservative Democrat in the State Senate, Jeff Van Drew, to run for the seat. WIll The Resistance be able to overcome The Machine?
In the age of Trump, it seems that the hard-right veer of their party is just too much, even for conservative congress members. In the Senate, Bob Corker is retiring, and among the House members, those who are hanging up their DC hall passes include Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. Now, there are reports that New Jersey’s Frank LoBiondo may join this list.
LoBo, a former Cumberland County Freeholder and four-term Assembly member, was first elected to Congress in Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract on America. Perceived as a “moderate”, LoBo has a voting record that is not as bad as many of his colleagues, but he still have voted the Trump line 86% of the time, according to ProPublica.
Like many of his GOP colleagues, he has insulated himself from his constituents and has not held a public town hall meeting in some time. This has driven supporters of his presumed Democratic opponent Tanzie Youngblood to post a slew of “Where’s Frank?” photos with a cardboard cutout of the congressman at various venues in the District.
With the opening, I suspect the field of Democrats vying for the seat will grow. Barack Obama won there twice, although Trump took it by 5 points last year. So far, the only person who has formally announced is Youngblood (Disclosure: I have done a small amount of work on her campaign and will continue to do so).
This gives the Democrats one more opportunity to take the House and offer the nation a much-needed bulwark against the Trump agenda. Will the State Democratic party step up to the plate, or will it continue to ignore the more rural areas of South Jersey?