If the so-called blue wave is going to give Democrats control of the House, it's going to have to wash over two Republican Jersey Shore congressional districts.
In the Second District, which spans Cape May to Camden counties, Democratic Sen. Jeff Van Drew, 65, of Dennis, is running against former Atlantic County Freeholder Seth Grossman, 69, of Atlantic City, to replace retiring Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R., N.J.). His own worst enemy, Grossman called diversity a "bunch of crap," Kwanzaa "phony," and Islam a "cancer." The Republican Party won't support him, and neither will we.
Van Drew is a welcome contrast. His impressive command of issues comes from more than 25 years of serving the district, first as municipal leader and eventually as a state senator, since 2008. His moderate tendencies reflect the right-leaning district. For example, he authored a bill that would hamstring offshore oil drillers and supports alternative energy. But he supported a natural gas pipeline, which would run through the ecologically-fragile Pinelands forest. Although the National Rifle Association gave Van Drew a $1,000 campaign contribution in 2008 and he supports the right to bear arms, he favors universal background checks, limiting civilian ownership of military weapons, and taking guns away from people who pose a danger to themselves or others.
The Inquirer enthusiastically endorses Jeff Van Drew for his deep understanding of local and national issues and his ability to work with Republicans in a professional, bipartisan way.
In the Third District, which covers most of Burlington and Ocean counties, incumbent Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur, 58, of Toms River, is running for a third term against Democrat Andy Kim, 36, of Bordentown.
In Congress, MacArthur has walked a moderate path, helping storm victims, and supporting gun safety and humane immigration policies. For that and more, we endorsed him in his first primary and both general elections.
But MacArthur lost his way in Washington. He helped move a bill repealing the Affordable Care Act, which was fortunately killed in the Senate. And, he was the only congressman from the state to support President Trump's lopsided tax plan, which helped the wealthy at the expense of government services. These acts infuriated many in the district, who are now supporting Kim, a Rhodes Scholar who worked for the State Department. But Kim has exaggerated his resume a little saying he "served" in Afghanistan, which implies military service, when he was an advisor and not a member of the military. It's not stolen valor, but it is a nuance Kim would be wise to respect.
As a member of Congress, he promises that he won't accept corporate political donations and promises daily disclosure of all meetings and votes. He would require health insurers to cover preexisting conditions and prohibit them from charging older people extra. He is pro-choice, pro-environment, and wants to give tax credits to businesses for hiring workers at decent salaries. In short, he would be a reliable Democratic vote. He should also serve Republican interests in the district.
The Inquirer endorses Andy Kim because he has a strong background in foreign policy and cares about the health and finances of people in the Third District.