New Jersey voters will fill seats in the United States House of Representatives in all twelve legislative districts in November, plus one Senate seat. This column will attempt to provide at least a snapshot of each of the twenty-six major party candidates in these races. Any reader who would like to see coverage of any third-party candidate in any of these races should please contact the author with at least the identity of the candidate and the race in which he is running.
This article covers the major candidates in the 11th legislative district; the entire series will be indexed here as articles are added.
The 11th Congressional District includes most of western Morris County, the southeastern edge of Sussex County, the southeastern tail of Passaic County (but not Patterson), and northern and western Essex County.
Incumbent Republican Congressman Rodney Frelinguysen is a Vietnam vet, from an engineering battalion, who supports a strong military, veterans programs, and national security. He serves on the House Subcommittees on Defense and Homeland Security; he is also chair of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. His record places him as a moderate conservative, closer to the center than most of the party. He seeks to curb the national debt and cut taxes, and looks to create jobs. He is against the Affordable Care Act, but seeks alternatives in health care reform. On education, he believes in federal, state, and local involvement working together particularly in support of math, science, and technology training. He voted against a bill that would have banned late term abortions, but does not believe abortion to be a woman's unrestricted right.
His opponent, Mark Dunec, has no political experience but works as a Managing Director for a management consulting firm. He bases his campaign on the slogan "Leadership. Action. Results." He bills himself as a "professional problem solver" who will support good ideas without regard for party connections. He has received the support of several labor unions. His website rather extensively covers policy positions on issues, and transparency is something he hopes to maintain, that his constituents would always know his position on any issue. Those positions lean to the liberal side rather strongly, including tightening enforcement of gun laws, supporting abortion and the LGBT agenda, and giving the United Nations more power to enforce human rights around the world. He supports universal health care, and thinks that the Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction but needs to be amended to make it fully workable.
We sent invitations to all major party candidates in these November races to answer e-mail interview questions, and Mark Dunec was first to respond. You will find his answers in the article Mark Dunec, New Jersey 11th district Democratic Congressional candidate, linked below. We have not yet received a response from Rodney Frelinghuysen's campaign, but that is true of most of the candidates at this point (several have indicated an intention to reply, but only a few have done so).
Prior to Freylinghuysen's election in 1995 the seat was held by Republican Congressman Dean Gallo. The district seems to favor a moderate conservative; Freylinghuysen withstood a challenge from a Tea Party conservative in the primary. It is a largely white upper middle class suburban region tapering into the edge of wilderness, with the highest high school and college graduation rates in the state--slightly more than half of voters hold college degrees--and the second highest median income. It also has the highest percentage of whites and the lowest of blacks; Asians and Hispanics both outnumber blacks, despite the district having the second lowest percentage of Hispanics in the state. Freylinghuysen has won by strong margins in every election since 2000.
The author is attempting to contact all candidates in New Jersey Congressional races, and will in the weeks ahead provide featured coverage of those who respond.