Tag Archive: NJ-2

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.

LoBiondo denies endorsement report: THIS IS NOT ACCURATE

Frank LoBiondo is doing his best to avoid a primary challenge from the teabaggers and probably spit out his coffee when he read in the Atlantic City Press that he had taken sides in who the Cape May Republican committee should support for Freeholder. Before the fire got to hot, LoBiondo sent out a letter to members of the Republican Party denying reports of the endorsement:

The Press of Atlantic City reported that Freeholder Director Beyel said I endorsed John McCann (“Beyel said U.S. Rep Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, also endorses the slate”).  THIS IS NOT ACCURATE.

I was not part of the decision making process by the Cape May County Republican organization.  I was not asked for my opinion nor consulted with in any discussions concerning the party’s decision not to endorse Jerry at any time.

Once I found out about it as the rest of you did, I made it clear I would not be involved in the committee preference vote process.

But now it is being reported that I am.  I AM NOT.

You have to love the strategic use of capitalization for emphasis. The Democrats don’t have a challenger yet, so as long as he can avoid a primary, its a pretty clear path to two more years. He’s already got incoming fire from his own side of the aisle and is trying to keep his profile as low as possible.

Primaries all over the state for the GOP

Congressman Leonard Lance doesn’t just have to look at the Democrats when he plans his re-election campaign anymore as David Larsen announced he will make a run from the right. It seems like he’ going to play the career politician card and off the bat pointed to Lance’s vote on Cap and Trade as an issue he will raise. But in what can only be seen in an attempt to cut the legs out of his campaign, the conservative Senator Mike Doherty turned around to Tom Kean Jr. and other GOP elected officialsendorsing Lance:

I do not think Leonard Lance can be beaten in a Republican Primary. Even if David Larsen won, he would be cut out in redistricting in 2012.”

Doherty’s statement is sure to anger some of the same people that put him in office, but his decision seems to be more about is own political standing and thinking Lance is the safe bet so it’s better to keep his powder dry in this one. Larsen will need to raise some seed money to show people he’s serious and not just looking to loan his campaign money for the effort. I’m told that Lance won’t be the only Republican to get a challenge from the tea party crowd as someone may run against Frank Lobiondo.

Then in the seats held by Democrats, there are a few primary races to run against the Incumbent. There are numerous candidate running in the 3rd district and Justin Murphy could also get support from the tea partiers as he runs again this year. There is also the primary to run against Rush Holt as Mike Halfacre and Scott Sipprelle will face off in a right v. further right battle and there may be more candidates to jump in the race. Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini and others have expressed interest in challenging to run against Frank Pallone as well. The tea partiers are even saying they may put someone up against Scott Garrett from the right, if that’s possible in comments to stories that are being written. The amount of candidate running in GOP primaries can be seen as an indication of the enthusiasm and also anger out there with the public right now, who only want to see 8% of incumbent re-elected right now.

By contrast, the Democrats in New Jersey don’t seem to like primaries as much. The only primary challenge I’ve seen so far is one against John Adler, but his warchest will make that an uphill climb. I know inside political circles they tend to shy away from primaries, because it makes you spend resources you want to conserve for the general election battle and take stands you often don’t want to defend. But sometimes primaries can better prepare candidates for the trial by fire that is a general election campaign. Even if the GOP candidates don’t win their primary challenges, the incumbents will already be in campaign mode given the voter angst right now. The competitive primaries to challenge Democratic incumbents will season them for the rigors of a race. With the climate  and public opinion where it is, it’s important that candidates don’t wait to start their campaigns and these primaries insure that the GOP won’t.

Van Drew won’t challenge LoBiondo “this cycle”

It looks like the Democrats are going to need to keep searching for a candidate to challenge Frank LoBiondo this year:

If a Democrat beats Congressman Frank LoBiondo in this November’s election, it won’t be State Senator Jeff Van Drew doing it. Van Drew has confirmed to Coastal Broadcasting that he will not be running against LoBiondo in this November’s election. The State Senator will be up for reelection 2011, along with Assemblyman Nelson Albano and Matt Milam. Cape May Councilman David Kurkowski ran against LoBiondo in 2008, in the Republican’s most recent victory.

After he didn’t pull the trigger in 2008 with all the wind at the back of Democrats, I wasn’t expecting him to jump in this year given the current climate. He didn’t close the door on a future run however:

“I’m not going to be running in this cycle,” said Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic.

While Van Drew will not run, Egg Harbor Township resident George Sakura says he plans to run. He hasn’t spoken to the Atlantic County Chair about his run yet and says he plans on running not against LoBiondo, but against the idea of lobbyists running the country. We will have to see if anyone else steps forward to challenge for the Democrats and if he gets anyone running against him from the right in the primary as well.

DNC targets Lance and LoBiondo over opposition to healthcare

The DNC announced the other day that they will target Congressmen Lance and Lobiondo as part of their effort to focus on the group of 32 House Republicans who opposed the healthcare bill that are in Congressional Districts won by President Obama in 2008:

Through this campaign, the DNC will send a message to Republicans who have reflexively said no to health insurance reform by urging them to do the right thing and support reform when it comes to the House again for a final vote.  The campaign will include press releases, Op-Eds and letters to the editor, local events and will leverage the energy and enthusiasm of the DNC’s grassroots supporters and its email list in holding these members accountable for their vote.  The effort may also include paid advertising.  DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan released the following statement on the effort:

“You would think a Member of Congress should think twice about voting against health insurance reform that their families and small businesses so desperately need and want.  But you have to think to vote against health insurance reform in a Congressional District won by President Obama just a year ago could be a political death knell at a time when Americans are clamoring for solutions to vexing issues like health care,” said Sevugan.  “These members not only represent districts that voted for President Obama, but also where health insurance reform, as in the rest of the country, is badly needed and where passing it will be politically popular.  Some on the very far right wing would have people believe that voting for health insurance reform is a mistake politically – when the truth is that any Republican who votes against reform, especially those from districts won by the President, will undoubtedly place themselves in real political peril.”

We’ve focused here at Blue Jersey a good deal of a attention and effort on getting the people in our own party on board with healthcare reform, but the DNC is taking a look at the other side of the aisle and lining up their targets for the next election based on what they see. In separate releases, the DNC noted that President Obama received 54% of the vote in Congressman LoBiondo’s district and didn’t give a percentage in Lance’s district, but pointed to the President’s victory. In fact, they and Organizing for America started putting out those releases hitting Lance and LoBiondo immediately following the vote on Saturday night. Congressman LoBiondo’s spokesman had a simple, short response to the targeting:

Asked about the DNC’s targeting of LoBiondo, Galanes asked, “Are they targeting John Adler? … Just curious.”

Are we in Congress or pre-school? A bad vote by Johnny doesn’t excuse Franky from doing the right thing by his people.

Lobiondo wants more government healthcare spending, just not reform

Last week, I did a post asking if Congressman LoBiondo wanted to get rid of Medicare, SCHIP and Medicaid beacuse he doesn’t want government involved in insurance. Well, he doesn’t want them involved, unless it’s him getting them money without any change:

The very day after Congressman LoBiondo slammed health care reform for requiring increased government spending on health care, he sent out a press release announcing earmarks he had arranged to be inserted into an appropriations bill. LoBiondo’s earmarks provide government money directly to private health care providers.

That kind of government funding of private health care is going on through earmarks in almost every congressional district in the country. The spending is massive. The fact is that LoBiondo already supports a system of government involvement with the private health care system. The difference between the Democrats’ health care reform program and LoBiondo’s approach is that the Democrats’ reform offers some oversight and process improvements in return for government money. LoBiondo’s system just throws government money at the problem.

And where does the money for Frank LoBiondo’s kind of health care earmarks come from? Because it comes from the government, it comes either from taxes or deficit spending. LoBiondo can rant and rave about how he’s against higher taxes and bigger deficits in order to pay for health care reform, but his actions speak louder than his words. In action, LoBiondo supports increased health care spending on health care, resulting in higher taxes, and bigger deficits. What LoBiondo opposes is health care reform to ensure that all this spending actually translates into better services for patients.

So we can’t have government involved, unless it’s government giving money with no strings attached? LoBiondo is helping sustain our broken healthcare system on the backs of the taxpayers through his own government actions while crying about how bad government would be if they were involved. Maybe the reason he’s so concerned is because he knows the games he tries to play.

Does LoBiondo want to get rid of Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP too?

I am so tired of seeing these lazy talking points from our elected officials as to why they cannot support the healthcare bill. Here’s a line from Frank LoBiondo:

“A government bureaucrat cannot get in the way between a patient and a doctor,” he said. “The provisions are not cost effective and not best for the patient.”

So the Congressman would like to get rid of Medicare too, because clearly the government runs that program.  From Wikipedia:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a component of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), administers Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). Along with the Departments of Labor and Treasury, CMS also implements the insurance reform provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The Social Security Administration is responsible for determining Medicare eligibility and processing premium payments for the Medicare program.

I’m sure the seniors in his district will like that idea. The families that support him would love to lose their SCHIP insurance as well. And those low income supporters will jump at the opportunity to lose their medicaid. I’m sure that will really help our health care situation.

And why is a government bureaucrat so much worse than an insurance bureaucrat? If LoBiondo is so serious about what he’s saying, let him introduce legislation to get rid of these programs.  Otherwise, he should find another talking point to justify his opposition to covering people.  

Quote of the Day: Without substantive and substantial changes, I will not support it.

Congressman LoBiondo pens an editorial in the Vineland Daily Journal today talking about the current healthcare debate, how he feels about the proposed legislation and what he would like to see changed going forward.  He offers this take in closing:

August gives us an opportunity to take a step back, re-examine and rethink the entire package, and spend the time to write legislation that keeps its focus on ensuring access for patients, protecting the doctor-patient relationship and promoting the results-oriented goal of healthy outcomes.

I believe the final bill should include provisions that make preventative care more accessible; eliminate restrictions on coverage for those with preexisting conditions; recruit and train more primary care physicians; and an increased investment in community health centers. And the bill must include real, critical reforms, such as medical malpractice reform, that would bring down the total cost of health care.

The current House bill is not that bill and, therefore, without substantive and substantial changes, I will not support it.

It’s not just Republicans like LoBiondo that have said they will not support the bill. Congressmen Pallone and Pascrell have joined with healthcare supporters to pressure LoBiondo, Adler and Lance to support the reform bill.

Poking Lobo

From the Gloucester County Times:

In your face. Seeking to establish an ongoing dialogue with tech-savvy constituents, U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo now has a Facebook page.

LoBiondo has asked all South Jersey residents to add him as a “friend” on the social-networking Web site.

The goal, he said, is to update these people as to important issues.

“As different technologies and methods evolve, it is pertinent that I examine and employ what would work effectively and efficiently to be as accessible as possible in as many ways as possible,” said LoBiondo, R-2nd Dist., of Ventnor.

Be sure to “poke” him next time you’re on Facebook.

So will you be rushing to friend Frank?

Frank LoBiondo must be getting dizzy

Frank Lobiondo must be getting dizzy form the circles he is running in.  He’s trying to figure out reasons he opposes the stimulus, while still looking like he supports everyone.  He can’t even call it a stimulus according to the headline of his latest press release:

LoBiondo Votes Against So-Called “Stimulus” Bill

Ah, now it’s a so-called stimulus.  Well lets see his reason for opposing the compromise:

“Make no mistake, this legislation is considerably weaker in its support to New Jersey’s transportation needs than the original House-passed bill.”

Ok, so he showed loyalty to his House colleagues and opposed the bill that was changed too much, right? Hmm, then why did the Congressman oppose that bill too, if it was so good?  Get out the dizzy bat, it’s time for our next spin:

Reduction in Medicaid Funding ? While providing a boost to Medicaid funding to the states, which LoBiondo supports, the House-Senate compromise reduced the overall funding levels from the original House-passed bill and changed the disbursement formula to the states which translates into a significant reduction in federal dollars to New Jersey despite the fact that it has high unemployment

Again back to this magical house bill he couldn’t bring himself to support.  Round and round we go:

Limited “Buy American” Provisions – The intention of the economic stimulus package is to create jobs in America, however, the weakened “Buy American” provisions now allow federal funding recipients to purchase over $300 billion worth of products not made in America. Only U.S. steel and federal/military uniforms are covered under the “Buy American” provisions in the House-Senate compromise.

Funny, he opposed the stronger “Buy American” provisions too.  So it seems like he is with the rest of his party opposing any Buy American provisions, while trying to take credit for supporting them.  And finally, he hitches his wagon to a popular president:

“The President is right to call for an economic stimulus package that will immediately and positively benefit struggling families and our nation?s economy,” concluded LoBiondo. “Congress should have and could have created a true economic stimulus that would create millions of new jobs without saddling the taxpayers with excessive, wasteful federal spending. Today, Congress failed the American people.”

That’s right,  it’s Congress who failed, not Frank LoBiondo.  Because they were so successful when his party was running the show of course.  Either way, for Frank LoBiondo to try and act like all Congress had to do was put the House bill, which he already opposed, up for another vote and it would receive his support is laughable. Beware of Republicans trying to take credit for legislation they opposed.