Tag Archive: Tom MacArthur

Adult Leadership

It’s a well-known fact that Congress is dysfunctional. The Republican leadership behaves like a miffed three-year-old. “If you don’t play the game my way (i.e. stand in the way of progress), then I’ll take all my toys (i.e. shut down the government) and go home (i.e. take more vacation than any other Congress has in the past.)”

Given the child-like behavior of Speaker John Boehner, Louis Gohmert, Michele Bachmann and the rest of that crowd, it would be beneficial to elect some real adults to the House of Representatives – people who would earn their salaries and perks by actually working for the American people, regardless of political affiliation.

How does this premise of adult leadership apply to New Jersey’s Third Congressional District?

On the Republican side, we have Tom MacArthur, a Rollo the Rich Kid who parachuted in to the district to use his vast fortune to buy an open seat. MacArthur himself has said that he will spend whatever amount of money it takes to get elected. His childish campaign material rarely talks about his policies but rather taunts his opponent, Aimee Belgard, with misinformation on her record and features manipulated photographs of her showing dirt all over her face.

Aimee Belgard, on the other hand, exhibits the kind of adult leadership we need in Washington. As a minority member of the County Board of Freeholders, rather than being obstructionist, she works with the majority to get things done. Not all the things that she’d like – after all she’s still in the minority. But many improvements in the county, including more transparency, improved fiscal oversight, a better recycling program, and the rescue of a cherished nature center, are among her accomplishments on the board. And to everyone’s credit, while she and the GOP majority on the board may have ideological disagreements, all have kept the discussions civil and they treat each other with mutual respect. Isn’t that the kind of behavior we need in Congress?

Fred Astaire Would be Jealous

promoted by Rosi

Tom MacArthur’s latest attack on Aimee Belgard is disingenuous at best, and certainly misleading.

Aimee Belgard has asked Tom MacArthur to join her in a pledge not to privatize Social Security. MacArthur frames this as an “attack” on him, yet he has not responded to Belgard’s challenge. On his web site, he says, “Tom believes Social Security is a promise that must be kept to our citizens.  Americans who pay into the system should receive the benefits they earn and those benefits should keep pace with inflation.” Yet, he never unequivocally states that he opposes privatization and he never states that he supports Social Security for new workers.

(On the same web page, the MacArthur campaign perpetuates their falsehood that Belgard refuses to debate. I know of at least one debate that’s scheduled by the League of Women Voters.)

Privatization of Social Security would hurt recipients while filling the coffers of for-profit insurance companies. It’s a slippery slope to the GOP’s ultimate dream of eliminating the only safety net for millions of seniors.

Tom MacArthur may say that he “supports” Social Security. But his masterful dancing around the privatization issue would make Fred Astaire jealous.

Disclosure: I receive Social Security after having paid into the system for 45 years. And I’m a proud volunteer on Belgard’s campaign.

Is the MacArthur Campaign Bereft of Ideas?

For a campaign that has three million dollars in the bank and has hired a top-notch GOP consultant, the execution of Tom MacArthur’s quest to buy a seat in Congress is puzzling.

His entire campaign consists mostly of attack ads against his opponent, Aimee Belgard, with occasional videos of his wife and kids. They sure look like a nice family, but that’s not relevant to the type of congressman he would be. (For the record, Aimee Belgard has a fantastic family, also.)  

Tom MacArthur Can’t Even be a Good Carpetbagger

It’s well known that Tom MacArthur is a carpetbagger. The former mayor of Randolph in Morris County is trying to buy a seat in Congress by running for the open seat in New Jersey’s Third District (Burlington and Ocean Counties). But he can’t even do a good job of carpetbagging.

True, MacArthur has owned a summer home in South Jersey for many years, but even that home is outside the District. So he dipped into his 8-figure net worth and bought a relatively inexpensive condo in Toms River for the purpose of establishing an in-district address.

Yet, public records show that his wife Debbie is still registered to vote in Randolph. This begs the question as to whether Tom MacArthur really lives in the District.

Mensches and Leeches

Despite the steady but slow national economic recovery, New Jersey lags its neighboring states in almost all economic indicators. There are a number of reasons for this – some political, some based on our tax code, and many based on pure greed.

The buzzword going around these days is “corporate inversion.” That’s when a U.S.-based corporation moves its headquarters overseas to avoid paying taxes – taxes that pay for the infrastructure, protection, and resources that these corporations use to their benefit. But its not just inversions that harm our economy and environment. It’s also investment in foreign companies that work against American interests.

So what are New Jersey politicians doing about this?

CD03: Is GOP’s Tom MacArthur that hard up for volunteers?

Blind item: We hear that Tom MacArthur’s people are approaching the unpaid interns of Democrat Aimee Belgard at public events and offering to pay them ten bucks an hour to come over and work for MacArthur.

You’ll remember MacArthur was mayor of Randolph in North Jersey until a few months ago when Jon Runyan’s congressional seat suddenly went up for grabs. MacArthur’s people try to bat away the “carpetbagger’ charge by insisting he was involved in an Ocean County charity ‘for years.’ Good for him. But maybe he didn’t get to meet enough people. Or something.

No doubt Tom MacArthur has lots of money, but if you look closely, like Bill Orr did, the numbers tell a story:

GOP’s Tom MacArthur self-loaned the most of all the candidates for Congress. In both parties: $3 million. But he’s only raised $118,930 in individual contributions. Meanwhile …

Dem Aimee Belgard’s the open seat Dem who’s got the most cash-on-hand: $615,995.

Is MacArthur that hard up for volunteers? And dude, $10 an hour? Really?

Somebody ought to say Thank You to Aimee Belgard’s rockin’ interns.

So I just did.

What is Tom MacArthur Afraid Of?

A couple of years ago, Joey Novick and I did a 40-minute video interview with Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, who has one of the most radically conservative voting records in the legislature. We asked some really tough questions on many issues. Carroll did not dance around the questions, the way many politicians do, and gave frank and honest responses.

So while I disagree on almost every issue with Carroll, I have the utmost respect for him. He’s not afraid of the tough questions and is principled in his opinions.

I can’t say the same for congressional candidate Tom MacArthur.

When I learned that he would be holding a press conference in nearby Moorestown, I thought it would be a good idea to drop in and ask the type of questions that Blue Jersey readers might want answered. But when I arrived at the venue, I was immediately turned away.

“We only allow credentialed reporters”, a staffer told me as I was being escorted out. Despite the fact that I have valid press credentials, the staffer said that bloggers were not welcome.

Since the press conference was on private property, they had every legal right to eject me. But it’s disappointing that millionaire MacArthur is so desperate to control his message. I can only conclude that he is afraid to deal with issues, and is simply attempting to buy an open seat in Congress (albeit outside his district) at any cost. The voters of the Third District deserve better.

The Congressional Campaign Dollar Bill Awards (So Far)

Although congressional elections are more than three months away, it is not too early to award some favorable and not so favorable prizes based on financial reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission for the period ending June 30, 2014. By now challengers need a large war chest to fund their campaign while entrenched incumbents not so much. The Democrat in an open seat which is strongly contested needs substantial cash (CD 3) and the two Democrats in open seats in districts where the results are virtually for-ordained Democratic, not so much (CD 01 and CD 12). While candidates will continue to receive donations, only those in the most competitive races are likely to receive a significant amount from outside independent funders.

Of course money isn’t everything, but it’s playing an increasingly important role in elections and its sheer quantity continues to expand. A lot of dollar bills there.

How they’re doing – on the jump page.

Which Party Puts Up Qualified Candidates in NJ-3?

Republican Congressman Jim Saxton represented New Jersey’s Third Congressional District for a quarter-century. Let’s take a look at the candidates from both parties who ran or are running for that seat since then.

On the Republican side, we had a business executive who later turned out to be a sex offender, an eminently unqualified but popular NFL star, and an out-of-district millionaire who is attempting to buy the seat.

On the Democratic side, we had a popular, fiercely smart Harvard-educated State Senator, then his equally qualified widow, and now an advocate for environmental protection and health care.

While both parties want to win, it seems like the Democrats are taking this business of representational government more seriously.

The Tea Party in Virginia, New Jersey and Congress

Many were shocked today to learn that in Virginia the prominent Eric Cantor, a conservative Republican and House Majority Leader, was defeated in the primary by a Tea Party candidate. In Republican dominated congressional districts such resurgence of the Tea Party, which is not a Party, has nothing to do with tea, and is only vaguely related to a historic Boston event, should not be surprising. In the wake Cantor has stepped down from his leadership position.

In New Jersey we saw the Tea Party’s influence in the Primary races. In CD 3, where incumbent  Jon Runyan (R) resigned effective the end of this session, “establishment” candidate Tom MacArthur (R) received 15,261 votes, but Steve Lonegan (R) supported by Tea Party and other arch-conservatives, garnered 10,314 votes. In CD 7 Leonard Lance (R) won 15,609 votes in the primary narrowly beating the frequent Tea Party candidate David Larsen who received 13,105 votes. In CD 11, another Tea Party supported candidate Rick Van Glahn received a respectable 7,700 votes against incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen’s 15,379 votes. While writing this diary, I am listening to incumbent Scott Garrett (R) (CD5) on his “Telephone Town Hall Meeting” where he takes calls from constituents, so far all friendly. Garrett had no opponent in the primary because he is beloved by the Tea Party, as well as banks and financial institutions.             .