Dozens of miles away from his scrap in the third congressional district, former Barack Obama aide Andy Kim ventured to Hoboken Thursday night as the local Democratic committee, in conjunction with the Hudson County Young Dems, hosted a fundraiser for him.
“Tom MacArthur is someone, who I believe, is the worst of what I hate about Washington. He’s the only one who voting down healthcare,” Kim said at the Pilsner Haus and Biergarten.
“He was also the only member of Congress in New Jersey who voted yes bill: all the other Republicans voted against it saying it would hurt New Jersey families. Tom MacArthur still voted for it.”
Kim further stated that MacArthur voted for a concealed carry reciprocity bill that would allow gun owners with concealed carry permits in other states to legally possess their weapon in New Jersey.
MacArthur, a former Randolph mayor, was elected to Congress in November 2014. The incumbent faced no Republican challenger in 2016 easily defeated Democrat Frederick John Lavergne by a 20-point margin.
His success in the third district is a bit atypical, given that the majority of the 3rd congressional district support President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
However, this time around he faces a much more game opponent in Kim: according to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings, MacArthur has over $1 million in his war chest as of May 16th, while Kim is right behind him with $971,659.
Kim, who has the endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden, also vowed to forge bipartisanship relationships to make government effective at all levels.
MacArthur campaign strategist Chris Russell was predictably unimpressed, calling Kim “a lightweight who can’t defend his extreme agenda.”
“Andy Kim’s left-wing agenda is better suited for a congressional race in Hudson County than it is Burlington and Ocean Counties. Andy Kim is being exposed here in South Jersey as a dishonest opportunist who cheated on his taxes and puffed up his resume, and is now running away from debates because he’s a lightweight who can’t defend his extreme agenda,” he said in an email.
“Congressman MacArthur will win the race because he’s been rated in the top 10% of the most bipartisan members of congress by an independent analysis, he’s worked across the aisle as a leader in the fight against opioid addiction, and he’s won the support of organized labor like the NJ Building and Construction Trades for his effort to create jobs and grow the economy.”
Of course, all politics is local, and it wouldn’t be a Democratic committee meeting in Hudson if state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack didn’t make a quick cameo appearance.
Prior to Kim’s arrival, Stack appealed to the HDC yet again, reiterating that he’s the best pick for the HCDO chair and thanking everyone for their committed support.
In a move that caught many onlookers off guard, Jersey City Board of Education Trustee Amy DeGise, County Executive Tom DeGise’s daughter and Stack’s challenger for HCDO chair, showed up prior to Kim’s public remarks.
Despite getting the pariah treatment from some, DeGise stuck around for at least an hour after Stack left (the two never crossed paths), engaging committee members one on one in hopes of peeling a few votes away from Stack here and there.
Other dignitaries in attendance included Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, Jersey City Board of Education Trustee Amy DeGise, Hoboken Democratic Committee Chair Phil Cohen and Hudson County Young Democrats Board President Brian Platt.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated with a comment from the MacArthur campaign.