Tag Archive: Barry Bendar

Bendar on Adler and Runyan

Barry Bendar was John Adler’s Democratic primary opponent last spring, taking 25% of the vote (on a $3,000 budget.)  A former Lacey Twp municipal chair, he also chaired Helen Dela Cruz and Sean Sharkey’s successful race for Township committee.  We spoke the day after the election.

Right off, Barry Bendar expressed disappointment with John Adler’s loss in the congressional election.  He pointed out that Adler worked hard and was very accessible to the Ocean County constituency unlike Adler’s predecessor Jim Saxton who Bendar pointed out was not very visible to county voters.  Bendar is afraid that as a congressman, Jon Runyan will be an embarrassment to the Third District.  He cited ex-New York Giant and broadcaster Harry Carson, who posits that being an NFL player can have an effect on one’s brain, and cited three separate conversations that he had with Runyan as being “difficult”.

On the campaign, Bendar wishes that Adler had concentrated more on issues like Runyan’s flip flop on Social Security instead of personal attacks on Runyan’s tax situation with donkeys.  His advice to Jon Runyan is to remember that his New Jersey constituents should be his first priority and dealings in Washington are number two.  He hopes (but is not counting on) that the new Congress will tackle campaign finance reform as one if its top priorities.

As far as his own political future is concerned, Bendar stated that he is not interested in running for higher office at this time.  His goal is to leverage his recent successful GOTV effort and work toward helping elect more Democrats to local office.  Bendar positions himself as a fiscal conservative who is more of a liberal on social issues.   I hope we will see more of Barry and Democrats like him to help move New Jersey forward.

Justin Murphy, Republican and Barry Bendar, Democrat at a candidates’ debate in Willingboro prior to the primaries.  Jon Runyan and John Adler were invited but did not attend.  Murphy and Bendar each supported their party’s candidate in the general election.

NJ-3 and Progressive Challenges

Cross posted from deciminyan.org

New Jersey’s Third Congressional District can be viewed as a microcosm of the American political landscape. We have (and I know personally) Tea Party extremists, moderates, and left-leaning Progressives in areas as diverse as suburban Cherry Hill, the Shamong Pine Barrens, and the shore towns of Ocean County.

First term incumbent Congressman John Adler is in a tight race with Republican ex-footballer Jon Runyan. Runyan echoes the Tea Party mantra on most issues, although there are a few exceptions such as his opposition to transferring Social Security investments to for-profit organizations. When he was in the New Jersey State Senate, Adler was regarded as one of its most liberal members. But in his current role, Adler kowtows to the right-leaning population in Burlington and Ocean counties by touting his “centrist” approach to legislating. In this day and age, “centrist” is a code word for “moderate Republican.”

It would be beneficial to the district and the nation if NJ-3 were represented by a more progressive congressman, but given the demographics of the area, big changes will be needed before this can happen. Adler’s primary opponent, Barry Bendar, would have promoted better policies, but Mr. Bendar only received 25% of the vote in a low-turnout Democratic primary.

So the $64,000 question is, “why do voters in NJ-3, and the nation overall, seem to embrace the policies of the failed Bush administration and the Tea Party extremists?” The answer is “messaging.” Tea Partiers have a great advantage in that they control the messaging infrastructure. Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News (with help from their Saudi investors), right-wing hate radio, and corporate ownership of most mainstream media tend to get the message out, both overtly by sheer force of numbers , and covertly by controlling the language of the debate. The counterpoints to these behemoths are loved by their Progressive base, but how many people do you know who listen to Rachel Maddow or belong to MoveOn.org?

To transform NJ-3 and the nation will require Progressives to become more adept at explaining to the general public why our approach is best for the country as a whole. With the demise of the Fairness Doctrine, the harebrained Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, and the corporate lock on media production and distribution, this will be a daunting task.

I was thrilled at John Adler’s victory two years ago. While his win was clearly on Barack Obama’s coattails, it was the first time this area had elected a Democratic representative in over a century. And despite his centrist moderate Republican voting record, I’ll vote for him again. Not because I’m enamored by his performance; not because I want to vote against a tax-evading donkey-farming ex-football player; but because I think the makeup of the 112th Congress will be close. And it scares the heck out of me to think that John Boehner will be Speaker of the House and second in line to the presidency. Big change requires small steps, so I’ll hold my nose, vote for Adler, and continue to advocate for a better America for all her citizens through Progressive ideas.

Debating the Void

Tonight, I attended the “debate” in Willingboro among the candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in New Jersey’s Third Congressional District.  I put the word “debate” in quotes because the sanctioned candidates from each party (Jon Runyan for the GOP and John Adler for the Democrats) were conspicuously absent1.

The challengers to the establishment candidates were Barry Bendar for the Democrats and Justin Murphy for the Republicans.  There were about 100 people in attendance, and the program was moderated by Ersula Cosby, an attorney from Bucks County who did an excellent job of running the debate.  The atmosphere was collegial with a cooperative audience and no fireworks.  Questions had to be submitted in advance, and no follow-up questions from the audience were permitted.

Both candidates presented themselves as the anti-establishment choice, decrying the political bosses of their respective parties.  Murphy proudly proclaimed himself a “right-wing Republican” and Bendar explained his disappointment with Adler, for whom he campaigned in 2008.

I won’t repeat their stance on many of the issues – the reader can learn about these at the candidates’ web site, or from the “mainstream media” (Burlington County Times, Courier Post, and Asbury Park Press were there) or they can pretty much figure out where a “Progressive Democrat” and a “Right Wing Republican” stand on the major concerns of the day.  Rather, I’ll give my take on where the two agree (sometimes surprisingly), provide some highlights, and mention where they may differ from their party’s dogma.

On Health Care, both candidates agreed that everyone should have health insurance and that preventative care should be a priority.  Bendar asserts that health care is a right, and supports “single payer.”  Murphy contends that health care is not a right, and was not clear on how everyone could be insured without a government-run single payer system.  Both agreed that “bureaucrats” should not get between a doctor and a patient, but Bendar’s assumption was that the bureaucrats were insurance company personnel and Murphy’s was that the bureaucrats were government workers.  Bendar said, “You shouldn’t have to make a [medical] decision based on money.”  Interestingly, Murphy asserted that (despite being an attorney and successful small businessman) he has spent most of his adult life without health insurance.  He pledged to forfeit any Federal health insurance benefit if elected.

On the lightning rod issue of abortion, Murphy is fiercely anti-choice, stating that he firmly believes that life begins at conception.  Bendar follows the Progressive line of contending that the Federal government should not intervene in what is a personal decision, although to me he seemed uncomfortable discussing this issue.

On Energy, both candidates agreed that nuclear energy needs to be part of the solution.  Murphy wants to double the number of nuclear reactors in the next 10 years.  I was disappointed in Bendar’s response that nuclear energy in the short term is acceptable, especially given the proximity of the Oyster Creek facility in his home town.  Neither candidate addressed the problem of disposal of nuclear waste.  Unsurprisingly, both agreed that we need more wind and solar power, but Murphy downplayed the effectiveness of renewable energy in reducing our dependence on foreign oil.  He also favors offshore drilling, stating “we have to be tougher than one oil spill.”  He would like to drill off New Jersey and have the royalties go directly to fund education.  (Like most Tea Partiers, he favors abolishing the Department of Education.)  Disappointingly, neither candidate mentioned conservation or CAFE standards as a part of the energy solution.

When asked what their top priority would be if elected, unsurprisingly both mentioned jobs.  Bendar wants to penalize companies for sending jobs overseas, and Murphy believes that corporate regulation and taxes are impeding the economy and job creation.  He wants the IRS abolished and capital gains taxes eliminated.

On gun control, Murphy would not support the bill currently before the House that would require background checks before a private gun sale could be consummated.  He argues that criminals will have guns, anyway.  Bendar supports the Second Amendment but finds no reason for private citizens to own assault weapons.

Oddly, there was a question about the Separatist movement.  I was relieved to hear that both candidates agreed that this issue was settled in 1865.

On immigration, Murphy contends that the Federal government has failed miserably, and that profiling in some cases is acceptable because “we are a nation at war with radical Islamic terrorists.”  Again, Bendar seemed uncomfortable or unprepared on this topic with a response that was wishy-washy at best.

On “too big to fail“, both agreed that companies should be allowed to fail, if necessary, but Bendar supports a plan for a “soft landing” for the affected workforce.

Besides Adler and Runyan, something else was conspicuous by its absence.  There was absolutely no mention of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and their toll on the lives of our soldiers and our national budget.  Apparently, these wars have faded into the background and neither party is willing to bring them to a close.

1After the debate was over, the organizers said that although Adler and Runyan were invited, Adler had to be in Washington for a vote and that Runyan never responded to their invitation.  I asked the moderator whether or not the candidates were permitted to send a proxy, but she was unable to answer that question.  

Why I am challenging John Adler in the June 8th Democratic Primary

Interesting that the primary challenger here is a person who did everything he could to get the incumbent, John Adler, elected, and is now so disappointed that he can’t sit by and let Adler go unchallenged. Adler should pay attention to this, the number of people his choices have alienated. – – promoted by Rosi Efthim


My name is Barry Bendar and I am running for Congress in New Jersey’s 3rd District.  

Like many of you, I’m an ordinary working class American. I’m married with two great children. I work as a database administrator during the day while I spend my evenings and weekends volunteering for good government. I became involved in politics 8 years ago at the municipal level. I jumped in feet first and became the Lacey Township Democratic Municipal Chairman while at the same time helping to raise money for and participating in campaigns for our local, county and state Democratic candidates.

Barry Bendar on Blue Jersey Radio LIVE Tonight at 8:00 p.m.

Barry Bendar, Candidate for Congress in NJ-3
Barry Bendar, Candidate for Congress, NJ-3

Each week, Blue Jersey Radio streams LIVE with New Jersey’s latest political buzz, interviews with newsmakers, and your stimulating calls.

This week: We’re joined by NJ-3 Congressional Candidate Barry Bendar seeking the democratic nomination in New Jersey’s 3rd District.

What? We already have a democratic congressman in NJ-3 you say? You betcha! But, since the incumbent couldn’t see Healthcare Reform from his house, someone else wants to give it a try. Looks like we have an actual contested primary – in America no less. You don’t see that every day.

So, what exactly does Barry have in mind in challenging an incumbent Congressman?

Find out from the candidate himself:

It’s all LIVE tonight at 8:00 p.m.

Have questions of your own to ask? Drop ’em in the comments, then tune in and join the conversation! And, of course – you can always give us a call and have your say. That number again is: 646-652-2773.

Talk to you then!

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