House Democrats step up campaign against this pro-Trump N.J. Republican

Rep. Tom MacArthur

By Jonathan D. Salant ||

WASHINGTON — House Democrats now say former National Security Adviser Andy Kim, who is challenging a pro-Trump Jersey congressman, offers one of their best chances to win a Republican-held congressional seat this fall

Kim, is wants to grab the House seat from Rep. Tom MacArthur, on Wednesday became the second New Jersey Democrat added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “red to blue” program.

“This national recognition highlights our race as one of the keys to taking back the House,” Kim said.

He joins Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy pilot and federal prosecutor running for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-11th Dist., on the list.

Those are the candidates that can expect extra fundraising and other assistance from DCCC. Democrats need to win 24 Republican-held seats to win a House majority in November.

“National security expert Andy Kim has spent his life serving our country and will fight for hardworking families in New Jersey’s Third District,” said Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., the DCCC chairman.

Trump unpopularity boosts Democrats’ chances

Kim raised $599,688 through Dec. 31 and entered 2018 with $431,146 to spend, Federal Election Commission filings show.

MacArthur, R-3rd Dist., raised $1.5 million and reported cash on hand of $932,632, both more than double his fundraising figures at the same point two years ago. President Donald Trump held a fundraiser at his Bedminster golf for him.

Inside Elections, one of the two Washington-based publications that tracks congressional races, continued to consider MacArthur a safe bet for re-election even as it moved three other New Jersey races towards the Democrats. The second publication, the Cook Political Report, said MacArthur was a strong favorite for a third term.

The president’s party traditionally loses congressional seats in an off-year election, even when the chief executive is not as unpopular as President Donald Trump in New Jersey, where only 34 percent in a Gallup poll approved of his performance in office.

MacArthur has voted with Trump more often than any other member of the New Jersey congressional delegation, supporting him 94 percent of the time, according to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.

That includes being one of only two New Jersey lawmakers to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and the only member from the Garden State to support a Republican tax bill that curbs the federal deduction for state and local taxes, disproportionately affecting New Jersey.

MacArthur also has broken with Trump on several issues, including opposing his decision to eliminate the protection from deportation granted by President Barack Obama to 690,000 unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JDSalant or on Facebook. Find Politics on Facebook.

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