A handful of protestors showed up outside the meeting. From the Press of Atlantic City
It was warm and comfortable in the upstairs room at Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern here Monday night.
It got even more cozy as labor leaders, politicians, casino representatives and business organizations from throughout southern New Jersey gave U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, what amounted to an endorsement of his re-election bid.
Across the street, about 15 protesters bundled in coats, hats and gloves to hold off the cold tried to turn up the heat on LoBiondo: Members of Citizens for Progressive Representation, or CPR, held up signs and called out to those entering the restaurant that LoBiondo’s congressional voting record is the opposite of what his supporters inside were celebrating.
â€œThe Bush administration has been one of the most anti-worker, anti-union administrations on record, yet LoBiondo has voted with Bush almost all of the time on labor matters,â€ said CPR Chairwoman Janet Fayter.
Those inside took note of the protest, but not the way CPR would have wanted: Labor officials said LoBiondo has always been there to strengthen the city’s gaming industry, fight for more jobs and stand up for the working man.
â€œThe people who are outside, that’s where they’re going to stay,â€ said state AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. â€œOutside.â€
LoBiondo told supporters the protest was an example of a political climate in which people â€œchoose to ignore reality and real facts.â€
We’ve had previous diaries on whether there will be a Dem challenger, but some from labor were discouraging that.
Another reality that was clear from Monday night’s event was that organized labor, traditionally considered a supporter of Democrats, was sending a message to any Democrat considering a challenge to LoBiondo: Don’t do it.
Roy Foster, president of the Atlantic-Cape May Central Labor Council, said there â€œwon’t be no moneyâ€ from labor for any Democratic congressional candidate in the 2nd District. Democrats in the district may think they’re automatically entitled to labor’s support, but they are â€œguests in our house,â€ he said.
LoBiondo said the event sent a â€œvery clear messageâ€ to any potential Democratic challenger.
That creates something of a bigger problem for southern New Jersey Democrats.
And surprise, surprise, LoBiondo doesn’t want to limit himself to his promised 6 terms. What about the supposed targetting of the district by the DCCC?
LoBiondo had originally pledged to serve only six terms. That would mean LoBiondo should now be serving his last year in Congress.
LoBiondo broke the pledge, saying he gave in to pressure from supporters.
Now, Democrats who hoped to win the seat this year are again faced with the prospect of running a candidate against the popular Republican, who usually wins his elections by wide margins.
Labor officials said they held Monday’s event because of concern that the National Democratic Committee is targeting LoBiondo’s seat in this year’s election…
Outside, Fayter said CPR, a new organization with as many as 100 members, is upset that labor’s decision to back LoBiondo now will stifle something necessary for Democracy â€” a strong challenge by an opponent and a differing point of view for voters to consider.
CPR is also upset that LoBiondo broke his term-limit pledge, she said.
â€œIt’s time for a change,â€ Fayter said.