Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ2) has hardly been challenged and gone through close elections since being elected to the U.S. Congress in 1994. Nonetheless, that is not going to deter Bill Hughes, Jr. who has announced his intention to challenge the incumbent congressman.
Hughes is the son of former Congressman Bill Hughes and his announcement came as a bit of surprise to local Democrats.
In response to Hughes' announcement, LoBiondo would state;
At its core America is built upon the belief that every voice has the right to be heard and every vote counts. As I have said previously, I welcome all interested candidates into the race and look forward to a vigorous discussion of the issues, their involvement in our community and the qualifications they would bring to representing the 2nd Congressional District.
The decision by Hughes certainly has shocked those in state Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-1)'s camp as Van Drew has been viewed as a potential challenger to LoBiondo.
With Van Drew's name being mentioned for 2014 and his own reelection on the horizon, it has opened the door for GOP Chairman Mike Donohue to take aim at him before next Tuesday's elections in a district that has given Van Drew close races the couple election cycles.
Jeff Van Drew owes it to the residents of the 1st legislative district to clearly state BEFORE this November’s state elections if he will be looking to vacate his Senate seat – in the event that he should win re-election – for his long-known and stated higher aspirations to run for Congress. The people have a right to know if they are merely being asked to elect a placeholder name, rather than someone dedicated to his obligations in Trenton for the next term. In the choice between Van Drew and Republican Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt, voters have a right to know if Van Drew is merely attempting to use the State Senate seat as a stepping stone to higher office. Adelizzi-Schmidt is clearly not doing so. Is Van Drew?
Van Drew's chief of staff would retort,
"He's just focused on him and his team being re-elected in this election."
While most of the state's attention has focused on the U.S. Senate special election a couple weeks ago and next week's statewide elections, it might be a little early for 2014 talk in the state. Nonetheless, it is never too early for someone like Hughes to work to build both his name and campaign cash war chest before the calendar turns to 2014 if he hopes to not only win his party's nomination but attempt to overcome the automatic edges LoBiondo will have to defeat him next year. It should be interesting to see if Van Drew decides to run and anyone else for that matter in addition to Hughes against a congressman who as of right now looks positioned to be reelected in 2014.