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Archive: October, 2012

POSTED: Wednesday, October 31, 2012, 2:33 PM

Jersey Congressman Jon Runyan wrote to FEMA today urging the federal relief agency to add Burlington County to its list of disaster areas eligible for recovery aid.

"FEMA must act as soon as possible to declare Burlington County a disaster zone so that the resources of the federal government are available to assist Burlington County residents," Runyan, a Republican who lives in the county, said in a news release.

The White House's initial disaster declaration included Atlantic, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union counties. Others may still be added. Burlington was left out of the initial declaration after last year's Hurricane Irene, but was later included.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 12:17 PM

Things are getting interesting in Pennsylvania: first two Republican Super PACs said they were jumping into the state with buys for the presidential race, then the Obama campaign said they’d respond in kind.

Wednesday morning multiple reports say the Romney camp itself is buying airtime in Philly, representing an escalating effort by both sides in PA after the two candidates focused on tighter swing states for most of the presidential campaign.

It’s a change that could have an effect down the ballot on House races here.

POSTED: Monday, October 29, 2012, 2:28 PM

How often does a campaign ad make a point and make you laugh at the same time?

One from Demcorat Manan Trivedi did both last week, with a clever riff on his party's well-worn Medicare talking points. But while the spot (described in the linked column) was original and funny, it got me wondering: how come the candidates' core messages aren't as innovative?

Across our region, there are four close races for the House, and every one is operating by the same script. Democrats hammer incumbent Republicans over the Ryan budget, its proposed Medicare overhaul and the GOP tax plan, while Republicans respond that they're preserving Medicare and keeping taxes down for everyone. Over and over and over, regardless of the particular district.

POSTED: Friday, October 26, 2012, 1:49 PM

Following up on a post from earlier this week, I spoke to Democrat Shelley Adler about her campaign against Republican Jon Runyan in South Jersey, and got to ask why it is that Royal Caribbean Cruise line workers have been her biggest collective donors as she campaigns in a South Jersey Congressional contest.

It was a pretty simple explanation: the cruise company's president is an old friend, one she met at Harvard Law School, and he held a fund-raiser on her behalf. The president, Adam Goldstein, also donated to Adler's late husband, John, when he ran for Congress.

"He and his wife are two of my closest friends," Shelley Adler said Thursday. "It's just somebody who knows me very well."

POSTED: Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 2:16 PM

Royal Caribbean really likes Shelley Adler.

Collectively, the cruise line’s employees have been Adler’s biggest donors as the South Jersey Democrat campaigns against Republican U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan in a Burlington County-based district. Royal Caribbean workers have given Adler $15,250, the most of any group directly contributing to her campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, helping her in one of the most expensive House races in New Jersey.

(Workers from the company have given to five other candidates this cycle, all incumbents, though none have received as much as Adler, according to the Center's data; these contributions come from individuals who work there, not the company or its PAC).

POSTED: Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 12:14 PM

We’re exactly two weeks away from Election Day, and while the Obama-Romney main event has drawn all the attention, the undercard features a fight for control of Congress. The races are local, but the implications are national: control of the House will give the majority a significant lever in the sweeping debate over taxes and government spending; it’s a long-brewing fight expected to consume Washington for months after Nov. 6.

With just 14 days to go, here are three big picture thoughts on how the local races are shaping up:

-- Democrats have an uphill climb.
While most incumbents in our area have been safe from the very beginning, Democrats started out the races here thinking they had shots at up to four suburban seats held by Republicans. (Mike Fitzpatrick in Bucks, Pat Meehan in Delaware County, Jim Gerlach in Chester and Jon Runyan in Burlington County in South Jersey).

POSTED: Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 12:39 PM

Local Democrats running for Congress got bad financial news Monday night when word came out that their national campaign arm canceled the last of its TV buys in the area. But challenger Manan Trivedi, running against Republican Jim Gerlach in a Chester County-based district, is touting the latest fund-raising reports that show he topped Gerlach by about $100,000 in fund-raising last quarter.

Trivedi raised about $438,000 in the past three months, compared to about $337,000 for Gerlach. Trivedi also outspent Gerlach, putting $680,000 into the race compared to about $374,000 for the incumbent.

It's unclear if all of that money helped Trivedi, though. The decision by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to cancel roughly $2.6 million of TV ad buys in Philly for the final two weeks of the campaign strongly indicates that challengers in this area haven't made enough progress, and that the national party is putting its resources in other, more promising races.

POSTED: Monday, October 15, 2012, 9:37 PM

National Democrats have canceled another round of ads for their Congressional candidates around Philadelphia, yanking $1.5 million worth of TV time in the final week of the campaign, a Democratic source said Monday night.

The decision sends another strong signal that local Democratic challengers are lagging behind incumbent Republicans around Philly, unlikely to achieve upsets and that national Democrats have decided to devote their resources to more promising races elsewhere.

The move by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee comes less than a week after the organization pulled $1.1 million of ads set to run in the second to last week of the campaign. Combined, the two decisions mean that the national campaign arm for Democratic House candidates won't be up on the air to help in four races that had been named top targets for Democrats trying to gain ground in Congress.

About this blog

Jonathan Tamari is the Inquirer’s Washington correspondent. He writes about the lawmakers, politics and policy that affect Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Tamari previously covered the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL. Before that he worked in Trenton, reporting on the characters and color of New Jersey state government. He lives in Washington.

Reach Jonathan at jtamari@phillynews.com.

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