New Jersey voters will fill seats in the United States House of Representatives in all twelve congressional districts in November, plus one Senate seat. This column will attempt to provide at least a snapshot of each of the twenty-six major party candidates in these races. Any reader who would like to see coverage of any third-party candidate in any of these races should please contact the author with at least the identity of the candidate and the race in which he is running.
This article covers the major candidates in the 3rd Congressional district; the entire series will be indexed here as articles are added.
The 3rd Congressional District includes northwestern Burlington County and the middle third of Ocean County including Toms River.
With current incumbent Jon Runyan stepping down, the challengers are relatively unknown. Republican Tom MacArthur is a millionaire businessman previously serving in various positions including Mayor of Randolph, New Jersey. Democrat Aimee Belgard is a member of the Edgewater Park Township Committee, and has apparently been involved in working for the Burlington County Freeholders in some capacity.
MacArthur looks like a Reagan Republican, favoring smaller government and lower taxes. His track record suggests fiscal responsibility and effective management. He advocates a market-driven approach to jobs creation, a simpler tax code, a balanced budget amendment, and free market solutions to health care. Having helped maintain his town’s triple-A bond rating from his experience as CEO of York Risk Services Group (an insurance company) he has a solid record on fiscal matters. He is more moderate on other issues, wanting to protect Social Security and Medicare, but to repeal Obamacare, defend traditional marriage, and oppose abortion. He would strengthen the military, following Reagan’s concept of peace through strength.
Belgard,a lawyer, is typically Democratic, vaguely defending women’s health care decisions (implying but not stating abortion), environmental issues, and expanded educational opportunities. She speaks of protecting Social Security, Medicare, and veteran’s benefits. She promises to revitalize New Jersey’s economy without saying how, other than that she opposes the closure of military bases in the state due to the negative economic impact. She has been endorsed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and by the Burlington County democratic party.
The district is four fifths white with about one in ten black, the lowest Asian population in the state at about one in thirty, and the lowest Hispanic population in the state at about one in thirteen. Unemployment is almost exactly average for the state, as is median household income. High school graduation rates are just above average, but college graduation rates are on the low side of the curve. Republican incumbent Jon Runyan edged out a slipping Democratic incumbent, John Adler, in the 2010 election, but Adler took it from the Republicans when incumbent Jim Saxton did not run in 2008; Runyan did not seek the nomination to run again this term. The district tends toward Republican, but frequently by narrow margins.
The author is attempting to contact all candidates in New Jersey Congressional races, and will in the weeks ahead provide featured coverage of those who respond.