New Jersey voters will fill seats in the United States House of Representatives in all twelve congressional 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 8th legislative district; the entire series will be indexed here as articles are added.
The 8th Congressional District includes an awkwardly shaped portion of Hudson County and a non-adjacent eastern fragment of Union County. It also includes fragments from other counties, including parts of both Jersey City and Newark.
Both candidates ran unopposed in the primary.
Democrat Albio Sires has been in Congress since 2007, but technically is in his first term from this district. He was the incumbent in district 13 when redistricting reduced the number of districts to twelve, and a significant part of his district was merged with the district 9; the elimination of district 8, held by Democrat Bill Pascrell, created competition in the Democratic party for available seats, Pascrell taking district 9 and Sires taking the newly reformed district 8.
Sires is a Cuban-born naturalized American citizen who was previously mayor of West New York (in eastern New Jersey); he holds a Masters of Arts degree from Middlebury College. He is considered an average party-line Democrat based on his voting record. His views appear very liberal, strongly favoring abortion, affirmative action, Obamacare expansion, homosexual marriage, green energy, economic stimulus packages, and political campaign funding limits, animal rights, and conceding power to the United Nations, and also supporting higher taxes on the wealthy, stricter gun control, and involvement in Iraq. He strongly opposes school vouchers, privatized social security, and expanding the military, and is against free trade agreements, and keeping God in the public realm. He appears uncommitted regarding marijuana legalization and increased criminal punishment. Oddly (given both his own background and the ethnic makeup of his district) his position on immigration reform is unclear.
Running against him on the Republican side is Jude-Anthony Tiscornia, an attorney with a previous unsuccessful run for the New Jersey General Assembly. We interviewed Tiscornia, published last week and linked below. He terms himself an "Urban Republican", seeking to reduce Federal spending and debt, replace Obamacare with something more functional, create a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, and reduce student debt. He favors some gun control, homosexual marriage, and the legalization and taxation of marijuana. He also believes in the sanctity of human life.
Tiscornia emphasizes that unlike his opponent he is not a career politician. Given that his district is so strongly held by the Democrats, he suggests that the Democratic Party machine selects and owns the congressman, and that a Republican would be more responsive to the constituents and less beholden to the party bosses. For more, see the interview.
District 8 has nearly as many Hispanic voters as White voters, both just over fifty percent of the vote and as many Hispanic voters as the next two districts combined. It has average Black and Asian populations for the state, above the median unemployement rate, second lowest median household income, and the lowest high school graduation rate in the state, although close to the median on college graduation rates. It is also the only district in the state where men outnumber women. It has been consistently and strongly Democratic.
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.