WASHINGTON – Get ready for a Republican primary in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan in South Jersey.
GOP leaders in Burlington and Ocean counties are lining up behind Tom MacArthur, a former mayor from North Jersey and ex-insurance company executive, said Bill Layton, chairman of the Burlington County Republican party.
But Steve Lonegan, a conservative firebrand who last year ran for Senate (and is also an ex-mayor from the other end of the state), said Tuesday he’s undeterred and will run anyway.
WASHINGTON – An open South Jersey House seat has presented an enticing opportunity for candidates there: the chance to hit up donors for twice as much campaign money without having to do any extra campaigning.
Instead of being limited to giving the nomral maximum of $5,200 this year, donors can give up to $10,400 to each candidate running to replace former U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, a Democrat who resigned in February. Political Action Committees can give up to $20,000 to each candidate, instead of the normal $10,000 limit.
Here’s why: technically there are four elections to replace Andrews – two on the June 3 primary day, and two on the Nov. 4 general election -- not just the usual one on each day. So donors can give the maximum campaign contribution four times, instead of twice, even though the candidates don’t have to worry about any added days of voting.
WASHINGTON –Mike Quigley, a Democratic Congressman from Chicago, thought Delaware County’s Pat Meehan must have been legally blind.
After all, Quigley said, Meehan used to be an NHL referee.
“I can still put you in the penalty box, Quigs,” shot back Meehan, now a Republican Congressman in his second term.
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.