Tag Archive: Tom MacArthur

Opening Up Campaign Coffers

With elections less than three weeks away, on Tuesday November 4, there is no time to waste. Congressional Districts 2, 3, and 5 are districts where Democrats have launched strong challenges against Republicans. In the open CD 1 and 12, as well as others where the incumbent is a Democrat, the opposition is weak.  

We have had to wait three months to get updated financials. The Federal Election Commission today published quarterly financial data on the candidates through September 30. One candidate has receipts of over $4 million, another less than $5,000, and several candidates have yet to report any receipts. One candidate has over $3 million in cash on hand and another has less than $5,000. A few candidates have had independent funders spend monies in support of or in opposition to them.

See below the fold how candidates are faring financially in the last weeks before election.  

How to Buy an Election

The Federal Election Commission’s third quarter financial reporting is out, and it presents an interesting contrast in the NJ-3 congressional election. Despite the fact that some of the press has been giving the impression that the two candidates are dead even in fundraising, the FEC report shows that North Jersey’s Tom MacArthur is way ahead of district resident Aimee Belgard in the money race. As of September 30, the Belgard campaign took in $1.4 million, contrasted to the MacArthur campaign of $4.5 million.

Tom MacArthur has said that he will spend whatever it takes to win this election, and that’s one statement that he is holding true to. Almost 90% of the campaign money comes from a “loan” that he made to his own run.  Contrast this to Belgard’s campaign, where 61% of her money comes from individuals – with the average contribution less than $100.

MacArthur’s vast wealth comes from his time as an insurance company executive, during which time he was accused of stalling or denying payments to disaster victims and refusing to pay overtime to his employees. The former Randolph mayor is against legislation promoting pay equity and for tax breaks for rich people like himself.

Aimee Belgard on Social Security and Medicare

One of the most important issues distinguishing Aimee Belgard and her opponent in the NJ-3 Congressional Race is that of the future of Social Security and Medicare.

Today in Willingboro, Phil Rotondi of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare announced his group’s endorsement of Aimee Belgard.

Belgard understands that earned benefits like Social Security and Medicare are part of a complex economic system that makes this country run. In her remarks, she points out how passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and paying a fair minimum wage would make earned benefit systems solvent for decades to come.

Three Competitive Congressional Races

My June 4 diary, Yesterday’s Congressional Primaries and November’s Election indicated, “So with six Democratic seats likely to remain Democratic, are there other seats where Democrats can oust a Republican? Below are three districts where Democratic challengers may be poised to launch a strong campaign:” CD 3 (“With Jon Runyan (R) resigning, this open seat probably offers the best chance for a Democratic upset. The race is probably a toss-up at this moment.”), CD 2 (“Perhaps the land is now a little more shaky with Democrat William Hughes as the challenger. This is another battleground where the fight will be difficult but possibly winnable.”), and CD5 (“Roy Cho (D) may yet offer strong competition. It is clearly a difficult, uphill battle, but victory would be so sweet.”) Fast forward to today: In these three congressional districts Democrats have indeed launched strong campaigns.

Doing battle successfully against incumbents, as in CD 2 and CD 5, is never easy nor in CD 3, which with the exception of John Adler in 2010, has long voted Republican. It will require all hands on deck. With less than a month to go, see below the fold for an update, and join the fray.

Where’s Tommy?

There’s been a lot of discussion about the fact that Tom MacArthur, a resident of Morris County, is carpetbagging in his attempt to represent parts of Burlington and Ocean Counties in Congress. In public forums, MacArthur consistently brushes this off by claiming that he has had a home in Ocean County for the past nine years. But that’s not the whole story.

More MacArthur Misinformation

With his almost unlimited funds, Tom MacArthur is now targeting Democratic homes with a somewhat dubious robo-call from “Susan” who claims she’s a Democrat. While she says she’s not voting for Aimee Belgard, she never says she’s voting for Tom MacArthur. Could this be another case where MacArthur uses a Democrat from outside the district (like he did in a recent television ad) because he either couldn’t find one in the district or is so unfamiliar with the territory that he just uses friends or relatives?

And the claim that Belgard does not identify as a Democrat is fallacious. Her website touts her endorsement by the Burlington and Ocean County Democratic parties as well as dozens of local Democratic officials.

Tom MacArthur’s campaign is based almost entirely on negative campaigning and character assassination. This is just another example.

“World” – CD3 Aimee Belgard’s 2nd ad. Thoughts?

In CD3, Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard is running against Tom MacArthur, who until recently was a North Jersey resident, and the mayor of the Morris County town of Randolph. He moved south when he heard Rep. Runyan wouldn’t seek re-election. His people go into defensive mode when the carpetbagger issue is raised, claiming he has some long running relationship with Ocean and Burlington counties through charities he’s involved with. I don’t know whether that’s going to be enough of a touchstone in CD3 voters’ real lives; they’ll tell us in November.

Here’s an ad from Aimee Belgard – her 2nd – that draws attention to the differences she sees between the voters she knows best in her own county and Ocean, and MacArthur’s positions. It’s not only that MacArthur is a carpetbagger (that word’s not spoken here). The “otherness” highlighted is far greater, suggesting a “CEO” who can afford to be insulated – and vote wrong on – some of the issues of critical importance to voters, especially to women. Equal pay for equal work. Reproductive choice.

This is Belgard’s second ad. Called “World.” What do you think, Blue Jersey?

Paycheck Fairness – An Issue that Divides NJ-3 Candidates

Voters in New Jersey’s Third Congressional District are fortunate enough to have a real choice this year. On the Republican side, carpetbagger Tom MacArthur stands for the failed Bush “trickle down” economic policies and is in accord with the ultra-right’s discriminatory social policies. Democrat Aimee Belgard, on the other hand, is an advocate for equality, the middle class, and women’s health and pay issues.

It was fitting that Belgard chose the Alice Paul Institute for today’s press conference. Like Belgard, Alice Paul was a South Jersey native, and one of the earliest advocates for women’s rights in America. She was instrumental in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment that codified women’s right to vote. Her childhood home in Mount Laurel now houses the Alice Paul Institute, an organization dedicated to promoting equality and women’s rights.

At the press conference, Belgard drew a sharp distinction between herself and her opponent. She talked about her unwavering support for equal pay for equal work and her opponent’s opposition to that concept. Tom MacArthur has stated that any legislation in that area would result in “unnecessary lawsuits.”

Here’s a summary of Belgard’s comments:

Independent Funders Spending Big But Not So Much In NJ

With the possibility that Republicans might take over the U.S. Senate and with both parties trying to strengthen their margin in the House, money is flying around the country at electronic speeds and in quantities not seen before. The Huffington Post reports, “Super PACs are set to be a massive force in the 2014 midterms.” You can add to that monies expended by the national Democratic and Republican congressional and senatorial committees and other sources. However, the independent funders’ big money is not used to support every candidate.

In New Jersey where there are few competitive races, only Democrat Aimee Belgard (CD 3) has been a beneficiary so far. Two independent groups using their own funds have spent over $700,000 since August 1, 2014, in their ads and other media to oppose her challenger Republican Tom MacArthur. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, headed by Rep. Steve Israel, has spent the largest amount, and the House Majority PAC (headed by Alixandria Lapp who used to work for the DCCC) also spent funds to to oppose MacArthur.

Belgard’s campaign committee has directly received $827,000 through June 30 of which $341,000 was in committee contributions that includes $10,000 from EMILY’s List. MacArthur has not had independent funders spending on his behalf, but he loaned $3 million to his own campaign.  

It’s big money and lots more independent funds will be spent before the elections are over. However much more might not be spent on NJ elections unless specific races draw closer. Even Cory Booker who last year drew a lot money from independent funders is not doing so this year, but he had $3.5 million cash on hand as of June 30, 2014 and is expected to win.  

Belgard Releases First Television Ad

Thanks to election campaign laws that favor the moneyed interests, the media war in New Jersey’s Third Congressional District is not being played out on a level field. In a district that spans the first and fourth most expensive television markets in the nation, getting a candidate’s message across on the airwaves costs dearly.

One candidate, Republican Tom MacArthur, has stated that he will spend whatever it takes to get elected. I’m sure the CFOs of the Philadelphia and New York television stations are happy to hear this. MacArthur has already put $3 million of his own fortune into the campaign, and sources tell me that if the polling is close, he will also have the opportunity to tap into the virtually unlimited bankrolls of Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers.

Democrat Aimee Belgard, whose grass-roots campaign relies on thousands of small contributions, will never be able to match the MacArthur media blitz. But Belgard has won past contests where she’s been outspent by a 9 to 1 margin (including races in which opposition funds came from the aforementioned Sheldon Adelson).