BORDENTOWN — “Do you feel like there is a steady hand at the wheel? Do you feel like you’re in good hands right now?”
Andy Kim, a Democrat challenging Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur for a congressional seat in south-central New Jersey, sees these questions as pivotal to November’s election. They are singularly appropriate after a week of dangerous chaos ignited by President Trump’s European trip and new indictments in the Russia probe. In an interview at a diner here before picking up his 2-year-old son. Austin. at a daycare center nearby, Kim predicts that by November, voters will view electing a Democratic-controlled House as essential to providing “a check against this administration” and restoring some “stability” to Washington.
With three highly competitive House races, New Jersey is key to this effort. Democrats have fielded candidates with long histories of public service who were encouraged to join the electoral fray by the sense of emergency Trump’s presidency has created.
Kim was assigned by the State Department in 2011 to work with the U.S. military in Afghanistan. Having experienced firsthand the role our NATO allies have in supporting the war effort, he says he was especially horrified by Trump’s attacks on the alliance.
Mikie Sherrill, who served nearly a decade in the Navy as a helicopter pilot, is the Democrats’ nominee to the north in the 11th District. “We’re used to getting missions accomplished working with people across many different backgrounds,” she says in a telephone interview, adding calmly but — in light of current circumstances — pointedly: “We’ve all taken an oath to the Constitution.”
And nearby in the 7th District, Tom Malinowski, who served in the State Department during the Obama administration working on issues related to democracy and human rights, is taking on Republican Rep. Leonard Lance. Malinowski is eloquent during an interview in describing “the all-American middle-ground issues that the Trump Republicans” have ceded to Democrats in moderate districts.
If Trump looms over the election, all three New Jersey Democrats are campaigning primarily on bread-and-butter issues — health care, state and local taxes (that GOP tax bill), economic insecurity felt even by the relatively affluent, and infrastructure. The last of these has particular power in these commuter-heavy districts, given the failure of Republican budgets to finance the Gateway tunnel between New Jersey and New York City.
Day by day, the president is making this strategy ever more plausible.
This article provided by NewsEdge.