promoted by Rosi
It’s tough to squeeze more Democratic Congressional seats out of a state as overwhelmingly Blue as New Jersey, particularly when the gerrymander is designed to be more pluralistic than the state. But, New Jersey had a fighting chance this year. Districts 2, 3, and 4 could have easily gone from all GOP to 2-1 Democratic, with the one being a significantly bloodied Rep. Chris Smith (R–Suburban Maryland). However, if today’s primary works out as expected, the DCCC will have done its typical job twisting its own ankles by pushing Josh Welle and Andy Kim, though it also backed locally-chosen candidate Jeff Van Drew.
Van Drew was an obvious choice and put forward by the local party structure. Tanzie Youngblood has given him a run, but for all her able and tireless campaigning, she will suffer from splitting primary votes with Will Cunningham. Van Drew is a comparatively grass-roots selection. The County Committees are under-filled and the filled seats are rarely competitively contested. But the ballot lines they confer—this time to Van Drew—draw a near overwhelming Democratic vote. In the general election, Van Drew will be palatable to enough moderate, unaffiliated voters to deliver the balance and should take the District.
Welle will likely get the nomination in CD4. But, he is likely to get annihilated in the general election, because Smith has a vice lock on CD4. Taking down Smith without the benefit of a Monsanto product is a near-impossible task, and Welle hasn’t put in the kind of work Jim Keady has over the last 18 months. If the DCCC hadn’t worked to quash Keady’s campaign, his grass-roots hustle may have at least made a dent in Smith.
Kim is unopposed in the primary. In the general, he should outperform the candidate that Joe Andl (Dem. Chair–Soviet of Burlington) selected last year. But, because Kim is new to the District, has apparently engaged in some early puffery, and has little understanding of the moderate Republicans he needs to flip to win CD3, he’ll likely go down like an ice-cold Yuengling on a hot day. If the DCCC had let a John Ducey or Pam Lampitt bubble up from the grass roots, perhaps they would have taken out a weakened Rep. Tom MacArthur (R–Insurance) in November.
The Spirit of ’16 pervades the 2018 election at the DCCC, but it won’t work any better this time. They’re pounding establishment pegs into local holes again, to the usual effect, and a Congressional flip of existential proportions may be the casualty.