WASHINGTON – The South Jersey Congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R., N.J.) ranks among Democrats’ top targets as the party, once again, takes aim at Republican-held districts in the Philadelphia area.
Among the 19 top-tier challengers on Democrats’ “Red to Blue” list released Monday is Aimee Belgard, the Burlington County freeholder running to replace Runyan in a South Jersey district that includes parts of Burlington and Ocean counties. Runyan isn’t seeking re-election.
One notch down, Democrats named three others races in our area -- based in Chester County, Bucks County and a huge swath of South Jersey – on their list of 16 “emerging” races in which they hope to flip seats from Republican to Democratic control. Combined, four out of the 35 GOP seats rated most important to the Democrats’ Congressional campaign arm are in the Philly suburbs, according to the Democratic list.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) said Friday he will vote against Senate confirmation of Debo Adegbile, an Obama administration nominee who has been criticized for his role in trying to overturn the death sentence of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer.
Casey is believed to be the first Congressional Democrat to publicly oppose the nomination, which is set for a key procedural vote Monday.
Adegbile has been picked to lead the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, but he has faced stiff opposition from Pennsylvania Republicans due to his role in the charged Abu-Jamal case. Adegbile, as part of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund, supervised a team in 2009 that represented Abu-Jamal before the Supreme Court as he sought to have his death sentence overturned.
WASHINGTON – For local Republicans, these failing grades might be a good thing.
The Club for Growth, a conservative advocacy group that pushes for low-tax, anti-regulations and pro-business policies – and opposes any hint of compromise -- released its 2013 ratings Monday, and Republican Congressmen from the Philadelphia area got some of the worst marks of anyone in the GOP.
For 2013, four local Republicans were rated among the House GOP’s bottom 10. (Bucks’ Mike Fitzpatrick, Chester’s Jim Gerlach, South Jersey’s Jon Runyan and the Lehigh Valley’s Charlie Dent all scored 43 or 42 percent in the Club’s rating system.
WASHINGTON – Congressional careers may end, but campaign money endures.
Tuesday is officially the last day in office for South Jersey U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (D., N.J.), but he will have wide latitude in how he uses nearly $700,000 in campaign funds he still holds in two political accounts.
“He has a lot of options,” said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan group that monitors campaign laws.
WASHINGTON – Saying Congress should keep the government’s promises to veterans, Bucks County U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.) led the House charge this week to block a plan that would have slowed annual pension increases for military retirees.
With veterans at the center of the debate, the plan sailed through the House and Senate Tuesday and Wednesday and went to President Obama’s desk as supporters argued for keeping promises to military personnel. The few critics said the measure was one more example of lawmakers ducking a difficult choice – one that members of both parties supported less than two months ago.
“We as Americans and as lawmakers are forever in debt to the dedication of our military men and women, who bore the pain of battle, physically and emotionally,” Fitzpatrick said in a speech on the House floor. He opened with a quote from George Washington as he pitched a plan that would replace savings in the near future with budget cuts slated for 2024.
WASHINGTON -- Democrat Manan Trivedi is planning a third run for Congress, hoping that the retirement of U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.) provides the opening he needs.
Trivedi will launch a campaign Tuesday, he told the Inquirer Monday afternoon. He’ll run for the Chester County-based seat long-held by Gerlach, who is not seeking re-election.
“I think this is a great opportunity to get a refreshing change in this district,” Trivedi, 39, said in a telephone interview.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (D., N.J.), who is resigning next week, has had help defending himself in an ethics investigation from another South Jersey Democrat who is hoping to head to Congress.
Andrews hired Bill Hughes Jr. as part of his team responding to a House ethics committee investigation, Andrews’ office confirmed Monday. Hughes is running for the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R., N.J.) in a South Jersey district that includes all or parts of Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem counties and parts of Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties.
“Bill is among the attorneys who have represented us in the ethics committee matter. He is an outstanding lawyer at a fine firm,” Andrews said in a statement issued by his office Monday.
WASHINGTON – South Jersey Congressman Rob Andrews, a Democrat who said this week that he is resigning to take a job that will help pay for his daughters’ educations, had more than $500,000 in family income in 2012, public records show.
Andrews’ House salary is $170,000. In 2012, his wife, Camille, made roughly $167,000 as an associate dean at the Rutgers School of Law-Camden, according to public data published by Gannett New Jersey. Another $105,000 plus $60,000 in stock options and stock awards came from her position as a director at Marlton-based Hill International, a project management and construction claims consulting company, according to the businesses’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Camille Andrews also made $10,000 from July 2011 to June 2012 as director at the Ayco Charitable Foundation, according to its 2011 tax return.