Frank LoBiondo(R) announced he was retiring from his seat in the 2nd Congressional District, many Democrats saw it as an opportunity to flip the district. LoBiondo has held the seat for 23 years, and it was rarely contested as he was seen as unseatable. Now it’s in play.hen Rep.
Most people consider N.J. State Senator Jeff Van Drew, a conservative Democrat from the 1st Legislative District, where he has served since 2008. Van Drew has the largest war chest at $80k, has been endorsed by every Democratic Party chair in the stage, and has the backing of George Norcross, a man considered on of the most powerful, non-elected political figures in the state.
Before LoBiondo announced his retirement, retired schoolteacher Tanzie Youngblood had begun a campaign to unseat LoBiondo. She currently has $11k on hand, a fraction of the amount Van Drew has raised, and never having held elected office, has considerably less name recognition. She also doesn’t enjoy the endorsement of party elite.
Still, many progressives on the Left have been very vocal about their displeasure that the Party has appeared to have already anointed Van Drew far in advance of the primary, as well as their outright disgust with some of Van Drew’s more conservative voting record, including opposing gay marriage, supporting residents carrying handguns, and even recently opposing Gov. Murphy’s plan to legalize marijuana.
The District is largely been viewed as a Red District in a Blue State, but the Republicans haven’t appeared to field a candidate strong enough to defeat Van Drew. The question is will Van Drew have enough juice among Republicans to get them to vote for a Democrat, no matter how conservative they believe him to be.
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the seat as a “tossup” as Trump won the District in 2016 by 5 points. Prior to LoBiondo’s retirement, it has been rated as “Solid Republican.”
Newly elected Democratic Governor Phil Murphy won the District by 33 points, but it’s worth noting that he ran against the record of a very unpopular Republican incumbent in Chris Christie.
This remains a seat for the US House of Representatives, a seat Democrats want to flip, and a seat that Republicans are scrambling to keep, so you can assume that both parties will be taking the race seriously.