Tag Archive: NJ-4

The Unsung Candidates

So, with redistricting behind us, we’re headed toward Election Day with a 6-6 House delegation of incumbents seeking reelection. That means we have 6 chances to increase the democratic majority in our delegation. Sure, some of these chances are better than others. But Presidential years are funny – you might remember we picked up a seat in 2008.

With polls showing both President Obama and Senator Menendez potentially posting gaudy margins of victory here, there should be cause for optimism. And, more importantly, there is good reason to support our democratic congressional challengers in every District. (You remember the 50-State-Strategy, don’t you?)

You’ll hear from others (and I’ll write separately) about the two challengers given the best chance to win this year – NJ-3’s Shelley Adler and NJ-7’s Upendra Chivukula. And, wow, I hope they do!

But, today, I’d like to give a quick shout out to the four other democratic candidates who are doing their part to bring the 50-state-strategy to life. When they campaign against their opponents, they keep them and their money in-district, and by extension, help democratic candidates everywhere. Win or lose, they deserve some appreciation (and some help):

In NJ-2: Cassandra Shober faces the same headwinds other challengers here have faced: an incumbent with an overrated record on labor, and a conventional wisdom that a democrat can’t win. But, the reality is that this is a district democrats can win and Obama may win, and hardly the worst place to be running for Congress in a Presidential year. Add in that Cassandra has a great background and a core of hardworking grassroots supporters, and who knows – surprises can happen.

In NJ-4: Brian Froelich has perhaps the toughest assignment, going against an incumbent whose radical anti-choice stance never seems to dent his personal popularity. But, could this year’s odd national focus on abortion rights finally shine the spotlight on a Congressman whose positions are more in line with Akin and Mourdock than NJ suburban voters? When the incumbent was first elected 32 years ago, he was given little chance to win. Surprises have happened.

In NJ-5: Adam Gussen has gotten beaten up here and elsewhere for raising too little money to compete against Scott Garrett. And, some of that is deserved. But, I know Adam is campaigning hard, he’s got a compelling story to tell about himself, and about the winnability of this race. And, let’s face it, someone like Garrett deserves to be challenged as fiercely as possible. I really want a surprise to happen.

In NJ-11: John Arvanites has waged a surprisingly aggressive campaign in a district that was radically redrawn as a result of redistricting. The Morris County Democrats who’ve suffered mostly alone under the generations of the incumbent and his family holding this seat have welcomed the addition of large swaths of Essex and Passaic County to help flip this one. Still the underdog, the final outcome of this race may be the hardest to predict. Supporters hope a surprise does happen.

And that’s the rub – New Jersey’s Congressional elections have become extraordinarily predictable. We need to create some surprises.

Michele Bachman robocalls for Chris Smith in the 4th

With the Primary election tomorrow, everyone is running to their base and in the 4th Congressional District, that means that Chris Smith has Congresswoman Michele Bachman sending out robo calls for him in his primary race against Alan Bateman:

Didn’t you know that Chris Smith is a powerful voice fighting to protect our freedoms? She also lets us know that he’s co-sponsor of a bill to repeal the federal healthcare legislation, you know the law thats helping Chris Christie balance his budget without hurting seniors even more? If you weren’t voting for Chris Smith before, I’m sure you’re running out to the polls now. Bachman may want to pay attention to what is happening in her own back yard.

Smith called a model of public service

The healthcare debate has allowed Congressman Chris Smith to get a good deal of attention and he now has a new distinction according to catholics.org along with Congressman Bart Stupak for getting their amendment included in the health bill that passed:

It is men and women like Bart Stupak and Chris Smith who are the models of public service for all Catholics and other Christians.

Smith has been pushing the abortion button relentlessly throughout the healthcare debate. For him, the healthcare bill itself has seemed more like an afterthought. Some people have said that the Stupak amendment is a poison pill in the Senate including Rachel Maddow talking about the bill on Meet the Press this past Sunday. There have since been 40 members of the house who have said they will not vote for any bill that contains the Stupak language in the final version:

By late Monday, Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado had collected more than 40 signatures from fellow members who vowed they would not vote for a combined House-Senate health care bill if it contains language “that restricts women’s right to choose any further than current law.”

It really is pretty amazing that while Congressman Smith pushed for this during the years that his party held the White House and controlled Congress, it took the Democrats taking control to have him get the results. It still remains to be seen whether the language of the Stupak amendment survives a conference committee, but it has made it this far.

Six Chances to Win – Take the Poll

The House of Representatives – the People’s House – should be the most accountable to voters given that every member must stand for reelection every two years. Yet, despite ridiculously low Congressional approval ratings, incumbents are still expected to be reelected at a 90% rate or more. Indeed – the 7 New Jersey seats held by Democrats are universally considered safe. (Quick – can you even name the Republican challengers in the 6 races being contested? – I couldn’t.)

Not so for the 6 seats held by Republicans. When the polls close two weeks from this moment, we have 6 chances to increase the democratic majority in the NJ House delegation. And, although conventional wisdom suggests some of these chances are better than others – there is reason for optimism in all of them. It’s not just the anticipated coattails from Obama’s increasing lead in NJ, or Senator Lautenberg’s strong poll numbers that are cause for enthusiasm. There is also the little matter of new voters – hundreds of thousands of new voters in our state, substantial majorities of which favor the democrats. We are now playing on offense exclusively for the next two weeks – and every one of these candidates wants your help:

In NJ-2: David Kurkowski has an uphill battle against an incumbent whose middling ratings on labor issues nevertheless continue to keep him in good standing with the Atlantic City unions that might one day help flip this district. Too many people wrote off this district as soon as Jeff Van Drew said he wouldn’t run. But this swing district in a year when independent voters are leaning so heavily democrat is not exactly the worst place to be running for Congress.

In NJ-3: Senator John Adler began the race as a the money favorite, but aware of the challenge even for an open seat in a District anchored by Republican stronghold Ocean County. But, recent polls show Adler may finally be breaking through, and with the cash on hand to finish things out – I think this race has edged past NJ-7 as our most likely pickup.

In NJ-4: Josh Zeitz has surpassed all expectations, with fundraising in the half-million dollar range, and an aggressive campaign that has not let up for a moment against another Republican incumbent who enjoys the unearned support of big labor. He needs to overcome dismissive treatment by the MSM and the PR miracle Chris Smith landed earlier in the campaign. But, this is another swing district, and with the benefit of increased turnout and a strong top of the ticket, it’s a District that DC dems may regret not paying closer attention to.

In NJ-5: Dennis Shulman has raised more money than his two predecessors combined, and transformed a second tier race into one of the most exciting campaigns in the nation. That combination of cash and energy, together with a dynamic candidate, and an incumbent who relies heavily on the district’s registration advantage for wins, could produce a very welcome surprise. Getting rid of both Scott Garrett and Joe Ferriero in rapid succession? Dare to dream.

In NJ-7: Linda Stender has raised a boat load of money, and blanketed the airwaves with negative advertising to define her opponent before he could come up with enough money to define himself. I’m nervous that she hasn’t put this one away yet, but l still think Linda can get to the finish line. “The Congresswoman from New Jersey” still has a very nice ring to it.

In NJ-11: Tom Wyka has fought hard against a challenger’s toughest foe – raising money in a district people don’t yet believe is competitive. But, at least as much as any other race this cycle, Tom has his talent and the people power of Morris County progressives to fuel his bid. His supporters think he can win, and doing what they can to make it happen.

In a year of hope and change you can believe in, we may just be in for some surprises on election night. But, it will only happen if we work for it. Elections are won and lost in crunch time – and that time is now. Time to create some surprises.

What’s your favorite surprise prediction for election day? Take the Poll, and make your pitch in the comments.

Congressional campaign roundup


I did a post yesterday about the latest investment from the DCCC in NJ-3 and NJ-7.


It’s all about state and local issues in the 3rd.  PolitickerNJ called it Burlington vs. Trenton.  The Myers campaign is going after Adler on grants he got for his district from the now much publicized Property Tax Assistance and Community Developments grants program.    Adler’s campaign has responded calling on Myers to take a stand on the corruption in Burlington County from the Bridge Commission.  I understand what the campaigns are doing, but I still think that NJ-3 has seen many businesses close as a result of the economic turmoil and that will be the issue that drives voters decisions at the polls on election day. I would keep reminding people daily that Chris Myers thinks the economy is basically strong.


Josh Zeitz was endorsed yesterday as the 1st recommended candidate by Democrats 2000:

In an election where the Democratic Party is expected to make large gains, no young candidate has generated more buzz than Josh Zeitz, the Democratic candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s 4th District. Polling data putting his incumbent opponent well below the 50% mark just weeks before election day, Josh’s already record breaking fundraising, and an influx of new registrants making Democratic voters the majority in this district may very well be the perfect recipe for change from years of ineffective Republican rule in this part of the state.


The Shulman campaign has gone right after Garrett on the current economic situation and his ties to it with their latest television ad:

Visuals: Opening image of New York Stock Exchange floor, followed dark screen with words “Fire Scott Garrett” followed by Garrett’s face alongside the Capitol building and then Countrywide mortgage office as phrases spoken by narrator appear on screen. Ends with image of Shulman.

Analysis: Shulman, who has aired only negative ads this fall, continues his head-on attack of Garrett. If voters believe the markets-know-best attitude caused the current crisis, the ad – despite exaggerations – could do some damage because Garrett has generally been a free-market champion.

Here is the ad.  It’s a great example of linking the Congressman and his actions to the current situation.


The Stender campaign continues to go after Leonard Lance on his record on birth control:

Lance admitted he opposed Stender’s bill and believed women should be forced instead to rely on pharmacist referrals for their prescriptions if they were not able to obtain their birth control. Stender denounced this as an undue burden for women, stating, “Women should not have to drive around just to get their basic prescriptions filled. Leonard Lance is truly out of touch if he believes women should be forced to drive from pharmacy to pharmacy looking for someone to give them their medication.”

I wasn’t aware this is such a huge issue in the 7th.  I might mention that whether a woman is able to get birth control becomes less of a factor if she can’t afford the birth control because she already makes less at the job she hopes she doesn’t lose because she won’t be able to find another one in the bad economy. They mention driving from pharmacy to pharmacy, but don’t make the connection to the burden of the cost of gas.  Lance has tried to focus on the Property Tax grant program as well, not making any mention of the economy.

Update:  I was running out the door.  Here is some more.


Dave Kurkowski is getting ready for another chance to debate Frank Lobiondo:

The Cape May County League of Women Voters and 98.7 FM WCZT, The Coast radio station, are joining forces this year to sponsor the only Candidates Forum in the county where all six candidates running for the 2nd Congressional District will be present.

All of the candidates went after Lobiondo’s record at the last debate to which he responded if you have any question to call his office, so I wouldn’t expect anything different once again.  Kurkowski also has a press conference scheduled for tomorrow at 2pm to discuss Lobiondo’s broken contract with America.


Tom Wyka was all over the economic crisis penning an Op-Ed talking about how partisan politics won’t end the fiscal crisis:

My hope at this point is that any recovery plan focuses first and foremost on the root cause that haunts Main Street. All attempts should be made to see that honest, hardworking people can somehow remain in their homes and avoid foreclosure. This is essential to stop the slide in the market overall. Stimulating the economy comes next. Many options are on the table, including efforts to create jobs through a conversion to a green economy.

FogerRox has also had some great coverage of Frelinghuysen and his lack of support for veterans and events in the 11th including news of Obama Policy Advisor Mark Alexander coming to town to join Councilman Ron Rice Jr. for a Wyka event.

Candidates Welcome Bush to NJ

We’ve gotten press releases from many of the campaigns “welcoming” President Bush to NJ on behalf of Chris Myers and Leonard Lance.  Here is a sampling:

First we have the Stender Campaign:

The Bush-Lance Economy: Failed Record Causes Meltdown

After eight years of failed economic policies, Wall Street’s collapse under the Bush Administration has now left thousands of New Jerseyans’ jobs at risk and imperiled the pensions and savings of many more. The last eight years show why New Jersey families desperately need change as workers fear losing their jobs, homes, and retirement funds. Fiscally irresponsible Republicans in Washington have left our economy in shambles. Leonard Lance offers only more of the same, even agreeing with George Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security.  Today, the President comes to New Jersey to bail out his latest troubled victim: Leonard Lance’s campaign.

Next, we have this from the Adler Campaign:

Myers Welcomes “Modern-Day Herbert Hoover” Into District,

Adler said that Myers, given the severity and immediacy of the crisis rocking the economy, should have told Bush it would be inappropriate to go ahead with today’s high-priced event to raise money for his campaign. But like everything else about his campaign, Adler said, Myers has put his own political needs, as well as his absolute allegiance to President Bush and his eight years of failed policies, ahead of the people in the 3rd District. Adler said the fundraiser “is all about payback” from the White House for Myers’ steadfast support for Bush’s legacy of failure, including the Iraq War, the damaged economy and the staggering costs of education and health care.

Finally, we get a welcome courtesy of the Zeitz campaign:

The Bush-Chris Smith Economy

Chris Smith and the Republican Party’s philosophy of deregulation, laissez faire, trickle-down economics is to blame for the current crisis. They continually fought for tax cuts for the rich while gutting consumer protections for the middle class and they let Wall Street run amok.

  • President Bush and Chris Smith are leaving us with a record $500 billion deficit for 2009. The Republican Party and Chris Smith have turned a record surplus into a record deficit.
  • President Bush and Chris Smith have failed to present any conditions for their proposed $1 Trillion Bailout for Wall Street and Financial Sector
  • 54,000 New Jersey jobs are at stake. About 54,000 New Jerseyans are employed with securities, commodity and brokerage firms.
  • NJ taxpayers will suffer the impacts. The loss of jobs, and resulting loss of state tax revenue will damage our state budget, further placing burdens on already enormously high property taxes.
  • I know you will all be shocked to hear there is nothing welcoming the President from any of the Republicans.  It’s almost like they don’t want you to know he’s here, until you see their FEC reports of course.

    NJ-04 Video: Smith Votes to Criminalize ‘The Pill’

    I’m Josh Zeitz, the Democratic candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s Fourth District. I want to talk to you about my strong support for reproductive rights, but first I want to tell you about the person I’m running against. My opponent, Chris Smith, is the leader of the anti-choice caucus in the House of Representatives.

    Chris Smith has introduced legislation to criminalize the common, everyday birth control pill and IUD on twenty-two separate occasions. He wants to put millions of American women in jail for using the pill. We have to say no to this kind of extremism.

    My campaign has produced a video outlining Smith’s attempt to criminalize birth control, and you can view it by clicking below.

    I believe that access to basic birth control and family planning services is a fundamental right. By refusing to provide contraception and age appropriate sex education, Chris Smith’s policies increase the number of unintended pregnancies.

    By providing women with a full range of information and health care options, we can help them make informed decisions about their lives and bodies. Together we can continue to provide women the right to choose.

    I know how important reproductive rights are to all of you, and I want to thank you for taking time to learn more about this crucial Congressional race.

    If you are able, please make a contribution at my ActBlue page.

    If you’d like to volunteer, please contact steve_at_joshzeitz_dot_com. Please visit the campaign at www.joshzeitz.com to learn more about what I believe.


    Josh Zeitz

    NJ-04: Zeitz Op-Ed on Oil and Gas Crisis

    In today’s Times of Trenton, Josh Zeitz published a powerful op-ed piece on the crisis of energy prices facing American families this summer. Josh is the Democratic candidate for the House in New Jersey’s 4th district, and is challenging long-time Republican incumbent Chris Smith.

    Josh rightly calls out Rep. Smith for a series of votes that have contributed to ridiculously high gas prices, in particular his vote to create the Enron loophole in 2000 and, even worse, against closing the loophole earlier this year.

    More after the jump.

    Swing State Project upgrades Adler and Zeitz

    If you were reading the blog or listening to Blue Jersey radio this past Saturday, this is confirmation of the news Jeff Gardner reported with a little extra surprise.

    The Swing State Project has come out with their new competitive house race rankings and NJ has four races to keep an eye on including some news to surely bring a smile to supporters of John Adler and Josh Zeitz. First the Adler upgrade:

    NJ-03 (Open): Tossup to Lean Democratic

    After a fractious GOP primary, Republican Chris Myers has $155K in the bank and is suddenly not looking like the stellar recruit that the NRCC made him out to be. (Surprise.) Meanwhile, Democrat John Adler has built up a massive fundraising edge with nearly $1.5 million on-hand. It would be difficult for anyone to not acknowledge the Democratic edge here in this D+3 district.

    In NJ-4, Josh Zeitz got some welcome news as his race has been added to the list of Races to watch. This will certainly be good for the Zeitz campaign as they try to keep up the momentum they’ve been building.  It’s also good to see the continuing expansion of the playing field.

    With Zeitz as a race to watch, Adler as a lean Democrat, Stender as a tossup and Shulman on the radar with a likely R ranking, things are shaping up very well for Democrats in NJ come November.