Tag Archive: jon runyan

The Tea Party in Virginia, New Jersey and Congress

Many were shocked today to learn that in Virginia the prominent Eric Cantor, a conservative Republican and House Majority Leader, was defeated in the primary by a Tea Party candidate. In Republican dominated congressional districts such resurgence of the Tea Party, which is not a Party, has nothing to do with tea, and is only vaguely related to a historic Boston event, should not be surprising. In the wake Cantor has stepped down from his leadership position.

In New Jersey we saw the Tea Party’s influence in the Primary races. In CD 3, where incumbent  Jon Runyan (R) resigned effective the end of this session, “establishment” candidate Tom MacArthur (R) received 15,261 votes, but Steve Lonegan (R) supported by Tea Party and other arch-conservatives, garnered 10,314 votes. In CD 7 Leonard Lance (R) won 15,609 votes in the primary narrowly beating the frequent Tea Party candidate David Larsen who received 13,105 votes. In CD 11, another Tea Party supported candidate Rick Van Glahn received a respectable 7,700 votes against incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen’s 15,379 votes. While writing this diary, I am listening to incumbent Scott Garrett (R) (CD5) on his “Telephone Town Hall Meeting” where he takes calls from constituents, so far all friendly. Garrett had no opponent in the primary because he is beloved by the Tea Party, as well as banks and financial institutions.             .

Happy Birthday, Aimee Belgard

Today is a milestone for Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard – her 40th birthday. So how is she celebrating? The way she always does – working hard for causes that she believes in. Today, she’s  drumming up support for her congressional run. But on any other day, she might be advocating for cancer research as a volunteer leader in the American Cancer Society or working for clean water here in Burlington County in her job as Freeholder.

The first time I met Belgard was on election night 2010. It was a sad night for the people of New Jersey’s Third Congressional District as our freshman Congressman John Adler, a fiercely smart and compassionate fixture in South Jersey politics, lost to Michigan native and former NFL football player Jon Runyan in what amounted to a popularity contest rather than an election of the most qualified person to fill the seat.

The next year, Belgard, an Edgewater Park Council member, took on a difficult challenge. She decided to run for the county freeholder board – a body that has been dominated by Republicans for decades. Election night that year was bittersweet. Although we re-elected Herb Conaway and gave Troy Singleton his first elective victory for the General Assembly, and although Aimee made the freeholder race the closest one in recent memory for a Democrat, she came up short.

And Now There Are Three

In the upcoming N. J. elections for the U. S. House of Representatives there are now three vacant seats. These Representatives have announced their resignations: Rob Andrews (D-CD1) first elected 1990, Rush Holt (D-CD12) first elected in 1998, and Jon Runyan (R-CD3) first elected 2010. Soon Democrats may take over a Republican seat, retain two Democratic seats with new members, and add two women to our delegation.

This is an unusual opportunity. In several recent past election there have been no vacancies and all incumbents have been re-elected. In a few past elections there has been one vacancy. For two vacancies you have to go back to 2008 – Mike Ferguson (R) succeeded by Leonard Lance (R) and Jim Saxton (R) succeeded by John Adler (D) – and 1996, Robert Torricelli (D) succeeded by Steve Rothman (D) and Dick Zimmer (R) succeeded by Mike Pappas (R). You have to go back to 1992 when there were three or more vacancies. In that election (22 years ago) there were actually four vacancies (Dwyer, Rinaldo, Roe, and Guarini.)

See more about this opportunity below the fold.

Raising the Debt Ceiling: Some Knuckleheads

The House yesterday voted to raise the debt ceiling through March 2015. It should not be a hard decision to make. Nonetheless, the results exposed some NJ knuckleheaded Representatives. Congress and the President (like most of us) agree to buy stuff and borrow money. If they stop paying back their debt the “full faith and credit” of our government goes down the toilet and the nation with it.

The Republican House members had discussed different packages that would extend the debt ceiling and which included one or more goodies that some members liked. But  the Republicans could not come up with the 218 or so votes needed to pass any of the packages. As Speaker Boehner said, Even a bill calling for the canonization of Mother Theresa would not make a debt ceiling increase acceptable to our members.” What an embarrassment. Fortunately Speaker Boehner and other Republican leaders realized a bill had to be passed so they posted a “clean” bill, nothing in it other than raising the debt ceiling, which Obama had rightly insisted upon. Normally House leadership only posts bills that at least a majority of the Republicans support.

Even so the result was that 221 Representatives voted YES and 201 voted NO. Only 28 Republicans voted YES, but they were joined by 193 Democrats.

So how about our NJ delegation?  All our Democrats voted YES. But there was a split among the Republicans between the:

  • More conservative (radical?, hardcore?, Tea Party?) who voted No: Scott Garrett (CD 5), Rodney Frelinghuysen (CD11), and Leonard Lance (CD 7), and  

  • less conservative (at least on some issues) who voted YES: Frank LoBiondo (CD 2), Chris Smith (CD 4), and the departing Jon Runyan (CD 3).

    Those who voted NO against raising the ceiling should be reminded of their knuckleheaded action frequently in the upcoming congressional elections.

  • An Early Look: Congressional Races 2014

    Activity is already well underway for the forthcoming Congressional elections. NJ’s 12 seats are currently held by six Democrats and six Republicans. One of the most hotly contested races might be in Congressional District (CD) 3 where incumbent Republican Jon Runyan is not running for re-election. Democrat Aimee Belgard and others (including Republican Steve Lonegan) are vying for the seat.  

    March 31 is the Nomination Petition Filing Deadline for the Primary Election. June 3 is Primary Election Day. November 4 is General Election. Incumbency is a huge advantage but not a guarantee. Start your engines.

    The Federal Election Committee (FEC) posts data filed by candidates. Below by CD is the name of each candidate who has filed an FEC Statement of Candidacy, followed by party affiliation, an (I) for an incumbent or a (C) for the challengers, and Ending Cash on Hand as of 12/31/2013 unless otherwise indicated. Some new challengers have not yet filed financial reports. Other individuals have been mentioned as possible candidates but have not filed their candidacy with the FEC.

  • CD 1: Robert Andrews (D) (I) $567,375

    Matthew Harris (D) (C) $1 (ending 09./30/13) – Graduate Student & Firefighter

  • CD 2: Frank LoBiondo (R) (I) $1,159,461

    William Hughes, Jr. (D) (C) $170,014 – Attorney & Son of Ex-Congressman

    Mike Assad (R) (C) $436 (ending 9/30/13) – Radio Talk Show Host & ’12 Candidate

  • CD 3: Jon Runyan (R)) (I) $71,736 (not running for re-election)

    Aimee Belgard (D) (C)  $149,263 – Burlington County Freeholder & Attorney

    Steve Lonegan (R) (C) $65,725 plus a debt of $227,826 as of Dec. 31 for his ’13 Senate campaign. (No report for his ’14 House campaign.) – Ex-Bogota Mayor, ex head of NJ Americans for Prosperity, Conservative, and frequent candidate

    Chris Isola  (R) (C)  – Financial Advisor

    Howard Kleinhendler (D) (C) – Attorney, Rabbi & ’10 Nominee

    Maurice Hill (R) (C)  – Toms River Town Councilman

  • CD 4: Christopher Smith (R) (I) $272,739

    Angela Gandolfo (D) – Sociologist & Progressive Activist

  • CD 5: Scott Garrett (R) (I) $2,790,755

    Roy Cho (D) (C) $133,977 – Attorney, Ex-Congressional & Ex-Gubernatorial Aide

    Andy Maguire (D) (C) $0 (as of 06/30/13)

  • CD 6: Frank Pallone (D) (I) $479,313 as of 9/30/13 (His ’13 Senate campaign reports $688,026 as of 9/30/13)

    Jun Choi (D) (C) $149,263

    Anna Little (R) (C) $0 – Tea Party, ’10 & ’12 Candidate

  • CD 7: Leonard Lance (R) (I) $366,871

    Janice Kovach (D) (C)  – Clinton Mayor & Business Consultant

    David Larsen (R) (C) – $0 (as of 9/30/12) Manufacturer & ’10 & ’12 Candidate

  • CD 8: Albio Sires (D) (I) $46,541

  • CD 9:William Pascrell (D) (I) $725,902

    Michael Wildes (D) (C)  $708,663 – Ex-Englewood Mayor and lawyer

  • CD 10: Donald Payne (D) (I) $449,359

    Aaron Fraser (D) (C) – Community organizer  

  • CD 11: Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) (I)  $310,385

    Mark Dunec (D) (C) $41,959 – financial consultant

  • CD 12: Rush Holt (D) (I) $309,356 (His ’13 Senate candidacy: $44,073 as of 9/30/13)

    Alieta Eck (R) (C)  $1,682 as of 9/30/13 for her ’13 Senate candidacy. (No report yet for the ’14 House campaign.)  Physician & ’13 US Senate candidate  

  • Republicans Step Right Up To Run In CD3… Lots of them

    Nothing brings people out of the woodwork to run for office like an open seat and the race to replace Jon Runyan in Congress from the 3rd District has many Republicans lining up for party support:

    GOP leadership has heard from 17 candidates in Ocean County interested in taking the reins of the congressional seat set to be vacated by U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan. At least one of the individuals, Evesham Mayor Randy Brown, took their name out of the running as late as this week – leaving up to 16 candidates left.

    Ocean County leadership interviewed eight candidates this week and is slated to review the remaining hopefuls sometime next week. Burlington officials, the other county that makes up CD 3, are said to have interviewed at least 10 people earlier this month.

    Meet Aimee Belgard for Congress

    This morning, Rep. Jon Runyan announced he would not seek re-election for his NJ-3 seat. This, after being hammered for weeks by the DCCC, which whatever else you may think about it, knows how to spot an opponent’s weakness.

    Tomorrow, Aimee Belgard, Burlington County Freeholder, formally announces she’s running for Congress at the historic Alice Paul Institute.

    Tuesday, the day Barbara Buono was defeated by an old boys network of deal-makers and personal opportunists, was the 141st anniversary of the first time Susan B. Anthony and other women voted for federal office. New Jersey has no women in its congressional delegation, and hasn’t for years. Meet Aimee Belgard.

    Jon Runyan to Retire – Belgard to Run

    Matt Friedman is reporting that Jon Runyan will not run for re-election to his seat in Congress next year. Tomorrow, at the historic Alice Paul Institute, Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard will announce her candidacy to run on the Democratic ticket. This plan was in the works prior to Runyan’s announcement.

    Belgard said, “I love Southern New Jersey and I am running for Congress because our communities need a representative who will stand up for our middle class, protect our veterans, care for our seniors, rebuild our treasured shore community, and make sure that every New Jersey resident has a fair shot at the American Dream.”

    What’s Happening Today Thu. 10/31/2013

    Happy Halloween Cory Booker: He resigned at Midnight as Mayor of Newark and will be sworn in at Noon today in the Capitol as New Jersey’s newest U. S. Senator by Vice President Joe Biden. Booker has an appointment with President Obama at 3:00pm. Booker’s predecessor as Mayor, the discredited and imprisoned Sharpe James, has said, “Booker will be a better Senator than Mayor”, which makes sense as his interests seem to be more in policies than management.

    TransOptions Halloween Warnings and Tips: “Costumes, candy and distracted pedestrians walking in the dark are all part of the brew on Halloween night. While enjoying the excitement of trick-or-treating, you’re also four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Here are safety tips for trick or treaters.

    “Nearly 1 Million New Jerseyans Will See Cuts to Food Assistance This Week”: NJ Public Policy further explains that the cut in food assistance is the result of the October 31 expiration of a modest boost in benefits to SNAP recipients that policymakers included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The House seeks even more cuts while the Senate resists. Unfortunately NJ does not have a Representative on the House Agriculture Committee – surprising as there is substantial farming in our State. (Even having “Farmer” Jon Runyan on the committee would be better than nothing, although he sees little need for safety nets.) Paul Krugman in the N. Y. Times says: “It has now become dogma on the right that the expansion of the SNAP program represents some kind of explosion of moocherism, not a safety net program… This despite clear evidence that the recent rise in SNAP participation is overwhelmingly a response to the economy.” President Obama recently named the Farm Bill as one of three major priorities for Congress. It is past time for the Senate and House to reach an agreement.

    New Jersey Coalition for Affordable Power (NJCAP): which consists of the state chapters of  AARP, the Chemistry Council, Citizen Action, the Large Energy Users Coalition, PIRG, the Sierra Club and the Main Street Alliance will hold a conference call today to urge the Board of Public Utilities to reject PSE&G’s proposed infrastructure projects. NJCAP points out: “PSEG CEO gets a 21.7% pay raise in 2012, meanwhile, New Jerseyans are stuck paying some of the highest energy rates in the country and are being asked to foot PSE&G’s $4 billion bill for Energy Strong without questions.” There is no doubt that significantly more investment in NJ’s electrical infrastructure is needed to improve reliability. Nonetheless it seems the plan will generate millions in revenue for PSE&G and might leave millions of families behind. There should be more discussusion of the plan.

    Buono/Silva campaign: Milly Silva: 6:20am, Radio interview with Bob Hennelly, WBAI 99.5 FM;  Barbara Buono: 10:00am, Buono Opportunity Tour: Higher Education, Montclair State University, Kasser Theater, 1 Normal Ave., Montclair;  11:30am Barbara Buono: with Working Families United for NJ leaders, Raise the Wage press conference, Perth Amboy City Hall, 260 High St.;  Barbara Buono: 2:30pm, Radio interview, Around the County Live, WSNJ 1240 AM;  Barbara Buono:  3:00pm, Radio Asia, 103.9 FM;  Barbara Buono: 3:15pm, Raidio iterview, Burns in Your Afternoon, WOND 1400 AM;  Barbara Buono: 5:00pm, Radio interview, WBCB 1490 AM.

    Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 10am, Ponzio’s Diner, Cherry Hill;  11am, Gloucester County campaign headquarters, Washington Township;  12:15pm, Elmer Diner, Elmer; 1:05pm, downtown walk starting at Juvante Formal, Vineland;  2:35pm, Cape May County campaign office, Ocean City.

    Cook Political Report Says Three GOP Congresscritters At Risk

    The Cook Report, a highly respected subscription only political report, did some studying after the recent government shutdown and has determined that there are a good number of Republican House members who are at risk, and that the Democrats may actually have a shot.

    And three of those Congresscritters are from New Jersey.

    Cook put together five categories that put an incumbent at risk.  (Sorry, no link since it’s paywalled.)They are:

    1. Sits in a district with a Cook PVI score of R+5 or more Democratic.
    2. Sits in a districts with a Cook PVI score of R+2 or more Democratic.
    3. Received 55 percent of the vote or less in the 2012 election.
    4. Held less than $500,000 in cash on hand at the end of September 2013.
    5. Had a Democratic opponent with more than $100,000 in cash on hand at the end of September 2013.

    Turns out Rep. Jon Runyan hits four of these, with a PVI of R+1 (that’s categories 1 and 2), less than 55 percent of the vote in 2012, and just $300K or so cash on hand.  If we had a declared Democrat with $100K on hand we’d have the quinfecta.

    Reps. Frank LoBiondo and Scott Garrett are a little less appealing.  LoBiondo gets two risk factors (1 and 2) solely because he’s in a D+1 district, but none of the categories match up.  Garrett gets two risk factors because he’s in an R+3 district and “only” got 55 percent of the vote in 2012.  I don’t find LoBiondo persuasive, and Garrett doesn’t really belong on the list since he got 55.03 percent of the vote in 2012.

    Runyan is the top target, I think, for Democrats next year and with a really good candidate (read: always out in public or dialing for dollars) and campaign team (read: media and fundraising) that seat is a definite pickup.

    At the same time, we need to go after LoBiondo and Garrett as well if for no other reason than to ensure GOP money has to go there to defend them and doesn’t get spent elsewhere.  With a great candidate and team we could win one of those (and in NJ-7 with Lance if he’s portrayed as betraying his “moderate” roots) in a wave election, but NJ’s Democrats have proved particularly weak at doing so.

    Any thoughts from the peanut out there?