Our coverage of New Jersey's primary next Tuesday, in which one Senator and all twelve members of the House of Representatives will be elected, continues with the Legislative District 2 candidates for House of Representatives. For other coverage see the index here, which will be expanded as articles are added.
The second district is geographically very large, covering all of Salem, Cumberland, Cape May, and Atlantic Counties plus a southern section of Ocean County and a small southeast corner of Burlington County. It was expanded in the 2010 redistricting when the state lost a congressional seat do to national population shifts.
Republican incumbent Frank Lobiondo has held this seat since 1995. He is considered a more moderate right-of-center Republican. His voting record shows him opposed to abortion but generally in favor of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
He is being challenged in the Republican primary by Mike Assad, Absecon-born son of an Egyptian immigrant who served on the Absecon Board of Education and was a radio talk show host in Ocean City. He is more conservative than Lobiondo, opposing Obamacare, favoring the "Fair Tax" (a 23% federal sales tax replacing the federal income tax), opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants, and speaking in favor of the defense of the Constitution and Bill of Rights as the law which governs the lawmakers. His other positions are all strongly conservative.
On the Democratic side, there are also two candidates.
If the name Bill Hughes, Jr. sounds vaguely familiar, it might be because his father held this congressional seat from 1974 to 1995, when Lobiondo claimed it. The county Democratic party committees in all eight covered counties have endorsed him, and he has been targeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee, suggesting he is the leading candidate. He has never run for office previously, but has served seven years with the Justice Department. His list of issues and positions sound relatively moderate but also somewhat ambiguous--he specifically mentions women's health and avoids mentioning abortion, for example.
His opponent in the primary is Dave Cole, software engineer and Rutgers University political science graduate who served as a Senior Technology Advisor at the White House five years ago. His website proposals are specific. Raise the minimum wage and restore extended unemployment benefits while rebuilding infrastructure and encouraging job creation; support teachers and teacher unions to improve public education; work toward clean energy alternatives; support same-sex marriage; curb gun accessibility to promote safety; target health care costs; upgrade government computer technology and laws; protect social security and strengthen medicare; universal high speed Internet access; protection of intellectual property but revised rules to stop patent trolls; support for women's health care including abortion.
The second district thus has contests for both parties.