Parsippany, October 21-Although New Jersey’s 11th Congressional district has long been considered a Republican stronghold, unaffiliated voters will determine the outcome of the 2008 race, and those who are aware of Democratic challenger Tom Wyka strongly support him.
The 11th Congressional district consists of all of Morris County, plus parts of Somerset, Essex, Sussex and Passaic Counties. Although the 11th is believed to be a Republican majority district, the largest group of registered voters within the district are “unaffiliated,” and the percentage of registered Democrats is growing, particularly in the eastern portion of the district. As of September 2008, there were 150,000 unaffiliated voters, 135,000 Republicans, and 95,000 Democrats.
“We calculate that Tom needs 65% of the unaffiliated vote in order to win the seat,” says Milin Shah, Campaign Coordinator of Wyka for Congress. “Our current polling indicates that 26% of the unaffiliated voters are undecided, with 49% leaning Democratic and 25% leaning Republican. If we can get our message out to those undecided unaffiliated voters, we will win.”
“Both candidates had surprisingly low name recognition among unaffiliated voters. Only 9% of the unaffiliated voters could name their current Congressman, as opposed to 2% who could name Wyka. But only 11% of the unaffiliateds who could name Frelinghuysen supported him. That’s compared to 100% support for Wyka among the unaffiliated voters who could name him,” said Shah.
Wyka’s campaign message focuses heavily on the incumbent’s voting record. Shah said, “Since 2006, more and more people have been paying attention to how Frelinghuysen has been voting. For years, he’s sent out newsletters that talk about how he ‘works with’ various groups and ‘supports’ their causes. So people are really stunned to discover that he doesn’t necessarily vote for the things he claims to work for and support. Voters deserve to know that their Congressman has voted against the best interest of homeowners, women, children, vets, and seniors. Rodney has voted against equal pay for men and women, voted against reforming the mortgage industry and against consumer protection in the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights; voted against children’s healthcare, voted against expanding Medicare. Environment New Jersey says that Frelinghuysen’s environmental voting record is ‘dismal.’ Frelinghuysen is one of the lowest-rated members of Congress in the entire country in the eyes of Disabled Veterans of America and continues to vote in lockstep with the Bush administration on the war in Iraq but often failed to vote to support the troops when they come home. In contrast, Tom Wyka has been endorsed by the National Organization for Women, the New Jersey Education Association, and the Council for a Livable World’s Veterans’ Alliance for Security and Democracy. Our campaign will continue to inform the electorate about Rodney’s voting record, and we are optimistic that on election day New Jersey’s District 11 will send Tom Wyka to Congress.”