Tag Archive: Jim Saxton

Goliath Slayers

It seems odd that in a blue state like New Jersey, our congressional delegation is evenly split – six Democrats and six Republicans. The GOP members are generally not moderate Republicans either, but rather folks that adhere to the extreme…
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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.

John Adler (R-NJ)

NJ-3 just gets worse and worse. – promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted from deciminyan

Imagine this scenario.  Freshman Democratic Congressman John Adler defeats footballer Jon Runyan in the November election.  This is plausible because even though New Jersey’s Third District has been gerrymandered to make it a “safe” district for the GOP, Adler has significantly more money with which to campaign, and Runyan is weak on the important issues.  Now, also imagine that nationally, the Republicans take control of the House.

If this scenario were to come to pass, the best thing John Adler could do is to switch parties and become a Republican.  Certainly, his first term voting record mirrors what would have been the voting pattern of his predecessor, long-term moderate GOP Congressman Jim Saxton.  Like Adler, Saxton would probably have voted against health care and would have supported the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.  Also, given the fact that New Jersey’s redistricting based on the 2010 census will be controlled by Chris Christie’s cronies, it is a safe bet that this district will once again be gerrymandered favorably for Republicans.  Switching parties would be a safe bet for Adler to retain his seat for several more terms under this scenario.

This sequence of events would not only benefit John Adler, but it would benefit the District as a whole.   With a GOP majority in Congress, a Republican Adler would be better positioned to promote programs and earmarks that would bring jobs, funding, and other benefits to Burlington and Ocean Counties.  He would still be a minority within his own (new) party because even though he votes more like a Republican, he has not partaken of the Tea Party Kool Aid.  The more moderate Republicans who are sent to Congress (as opposed to Tea Party Republicans), the better off we all will be.  And if Mr. Adler does switch parties after the election, it leaves room for a progressive Democrat to run in 2012, giving voters of the Third District a real choice.

I hope Adler wins; after all, he’s (barely) the lesser of two evils.  And I hope that the Democrats retain control of the House – otherwise this nation is in deep shit.  But if the Democrats do lose, and Adler does win, we are all better off if he honestly admits that he’s a moderate Republican and switches to the GOP.

Quote of the Day: A fairly mean place

Congressman Jim Saxton is reflecting on his time in Congress for all of his exit interviews with the media. He talked about the biggest change in Washington:

“I think Washington could be rightly described as a fairly mean place these days,” Saxton said. The partisan rancor has persisted since Republicans took the House of Representatives in 1994, he said, and it upended an established system of 40 years. “The Republicans didn’t know their place anymore and the Democrats didn’t like their place, and so both sides tried very hard to make the other look bad.”

Saxton was always more of the moderate type Republican, so it doesn’t surprise me he didn’t like the rabidness of the 1994 GOP takeover.  The question is, can this train return to the station?

Anatomy of a Win & End of an Era

For the first time since 1882, a Democrat will be sworn in as the next Congressman from New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District.  The perfect political storm known as the 2008 election has broken a 126-year drought and turned an impressive state Senator into a promising Congressman-Elect. But it was not a storm that “just happened”.  It was a storm that was planned and executed with precision.

State Senator John Adler announced his campaign for Congress to challenge then sitting Congressman Jim Saxton very early, on September 20, 2007.  From the beginning, Adler waged his campaign on progressive values; his decision to challenge Saxton came shortly after Saxton voted against expanding S-CHIP. This would have been his second time challenging Saxton (Adler ran in the then 13th Congressional district in 1990), but on November 9, 2007 Congressman Saxton announced he would not seek re-election due to health reasons.  Now the race was for an open seat, an easier proposition for Adler.

To understand the political dynamics at play, you first have to understand the geographic composition of the district. The 3rd District includes Cherry Hill in Camden County, most of Burlington County and a sizable chunk of Ocean County.  On the Democratic side, the field cleared for Adler and he received the early support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  On the Republican side, many wanted Burlington County native State Senator Diane Allen to run. When she declined, Chris Myers emerged as the Burlington County Candidate.

Much more on the flip.

Quote of the Day: Borrowing

Some candor from Congressman Saxton on where the bailout money will come from:

“The Treasury doesn’t have 700-billion dollars in a big ol’ safe,” says New Jersey Representative Jim Saxton. “We have to go borrow it.”

Maybe he should let Chris Myers know that the economy isn’t basically strong and it doesn’t take a Harvard degree to realize it.  Saxton didn’t address who we would be borrowing the money from though, which is probably one of the more important questions.

Saxton disgraces himself as New Jersey Representatives Vote on Energy Bill

I can respect all the votes on H.R. 6899, the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act, a bill passed last night in the House mainly by Democrats. It funds renewable energy but also allows limited offshore oil drilling. New Jersey Republicans Frank LoBiondo and Chris Smith (and 13 other Republicans) joined Rob Andrews, Albio Sires and 219 other Democrats to pass the bill, while Democrats Rush Holt, Frank Pallone, Bill Pascrell, Steve Rothman and Donald Payne (and 8 other Democrats) joined Saxton, Garrett, Frelinghuysen, Ferguson and 172 other Republicans in opposing it. People of good will can disagree on whether it’s best to accept or reject this compromise.  

What I can’t respect is the attempt to disrupt Congress and prevent passage of a bill by calling for motions to adjourn.  Only a few Republicans supported this absurd proposal, but New Jersey’s very own Jim Saxton must be looking forward to a permanent vacation as he actually voted to adjourn at noon. This is starting to look like a habit for the lame duck Representative.

What’s Left In The Tank?

On NPR this morning they had a report on leadership PACs of retiring members of Congress and how many retirees use them as slush funds.  So I decided to look into our two retirees (so far), Jim Saxton (NJ3) and Mike Ferguson (NJ7).

Jim Saxton has SAXPAC, which has been closed down with $0 cash on hand after expenditures of $13,000 fro legal fees (anyone know what that’s about?), $8,000 to a election compliance specialist (was there an issue that might deal with lawyers and election compliance?), $5,000 to Chris Meyers and $5,000 to Duncan Hunter’s run for President.  Really.

Ferguson is a little harder to write out, but we’ll try.  His Mike PAC is still open, but only has about $1800 left after a little less than $95,000 in expenditures since the last election.  He’s got a lot of $1,000 contributions to local campaigns and out-of-state members of Congress, with only Chris Smith seeing any House money in state.

$20,000 went to the Somerset Republicans, $8500 to the Hunterdon Republicans, and $1,000 to Union County.

On the other hand, Saxton has over a million dollars in the bank and Fergie has about $250,000.

So there’s a lot of money in the campaign war chests even if the PACs are dead.  I wonder if they’ll use them for anything.

This ain’t 2003!!!

New Jersey Republican Congressmen Scott Garrett, Rodney Frelinghuysen, Mike Ferguson, and Jim Saxton sent a resounding message to the unemployed  yesterday.  That message is, “This ain’t 2003!!!”

You see, back in 2003, when Republicans controlled the House, Republicans extended unemployment benefits by a vote of 416 to 4.  Only Scott Garrett hated the unemployed enough to vote against extending benefits at that time.  Ferguson, Frelinghuysen, and Saxton voted for the $7.2 billion bill.  That was when the national unemployment rate was 6.0 percent.

Fast forward to this year.  The unemployment rate now stands at 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  As of last month, New Jersey’s unemployment rate was 5.0%.  The bill would cost $11 billion over ten years.

So there are two possible explanations for Ferguson, Frelinghuysen, and Saxton: Either the economy just isn’t bad enough or the bill isn’t Republican enough.  Either way, they owe it to their constituents to explain their action.  Something that was right in 2003 can’t just be wrong in 2008.