MacArthur and Kim Campaigns Playing Guilt By Association Game

Aug 08, 2018

No less of a wise man than King Solomon warned you are known by the company you keep. The campaigns of incumbent GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur and Democratic opponent Andy Kim in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District race are amplifying the wise king’s proverb as the 2018 race heats up, each attempting to link their opponent with controversial figures in the opposing party.

Kim’s campaign kicked off the look-who-my-opponent-is-with brawl in February when President Trump’s former campaign manager and current adviser Kellyanne Conway was the featured guest at a $15,000-a-plate MacArthur fundraiser.

“Washington politicians and corporate interests are rewarding MacArthur after he voted to raise our health care premiums, lower property values and steal tax deductions from middle class New Jersey families,” read a Kim statement at that time. “While every other member of Congress in New Jersey did the right thing and voted against this tax scam, MacArthur has continued to use his power to advance corporate interests. He’s now reaping in the rewards while the rest of us get screwed.”

Kim’s campaign followed up by hosting a $10 “Alternative Fundraiser” just miles away from the MacArthur/Conway fundraiser.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was the next to earn the Kim campaign’s ire. Ryan visited Mount Laurel to be the guest of honor at a $10,000-a-plate-fundraiser for MacArthur.

“Congressman MacArthur wrote a bill that allows insurance companies to charge older folks higher premiums and guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions after he took thousands of dollars from prescription drug companies,” read a Kim statement. “It’s disappointing that Congressman MacArthur hasn’t held a town hall in over a year, and will spend his day back from Washington with Paul Ryan to get more rewards from fellow multi-millionaires and corporate PACs. Instead of meeting with other millionaires and politicians from Washington, MacArthur should meet with the people he represents so we can inform him that our health insurance premiums are forecasted to rise by 15+% and we need answers.”

The MacArthur campaign returned fire on June 28. That’s when it slammed a Kim fundraiser in Washington, held at a private home with tickets ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

“Despite recent attempts to run away from his radical past and position himself as a moderate – including flip-flopping on repeal of the GOP tax cuts and weakly trying to pass off an internship as proof of bipartisan bona fides, Andy Kim is returning to his ‘resistance’ roots today at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. hosted by J-Street (a nonprofit liberal advocacy group which aims to end the Arab-Israeli and Israel-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically) Board Member Diana Shaw Clark, who said her mission in life is to ‘resist and persist’ any Trump policy.”

Ocean County residents have likely never heard of Clark. But they’re probably familiar with the name Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator President Trump loves to nickname Pocahontas. On July 27, Warren was set to appear at a Kim fundraiser in Short Hills, and the MacArthur campaign lashed out the day before.

“Andy Kim’s decision to lock arms with and raise money alongside radical leftist Senator Elizabeth Warren is a direct shot at the over 40,000 men and women employed by Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and the hundreds of thousands more who rely on the base for economic investment in their communities and small businesses,” said MacArthur in a prepared statement.

His campaign specifically pointed at three Warren votes that it said “would have doomed the Joint Base to the fate of Fort Monmouth – a victim of BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) that left a gaping economic hole in the communities it encompassed and was surrounded by.”

“While I have successfully fought against Washington dysfunction to help secure the Joint Base, extremists like Elizabeth Warren have put its future in jeopardy,” said MacArthur. “Andy Kim has a choice to make – and it should not be a difficult one. Either he stands with the Joint Base and the people of Burlington and Ocean Counties or sells us out to stand on a stage with a radical politician like Elizabeth Warren, who repeatedly voted to block the very mission (tanker aircraft) that secured the future of the Joint Base.”

The MacArthur campaign’s latest salvo took place on Monday when New Jersey Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez participated in a “tele-town hall” with 3rd District voters to blast the costs of the GOP tax cut to New Jersey by hampering the federal government’s ability to invest in expanding mass transit, fixing the Garden State’s roads and bridges, and repairing New Jersey’s schools.

MacArthur’s campaign made no mention of Booker in a press release. Menendez, though, was a different story.

“In the wake of the news that Senator Bob Menendez is injecting himself into the Third District Congressional race, Congressman Tom MacArthur challenged Andy Kim to publicly denounce Menendez’s involvement in the race, demand Menendez pay back the $1 million in illegal gifts he accepted from his convicted felon best friend, and say whether he agrees with the findings of the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee that Menendez broke federal law.”

The MacArthur campaign is also busy trying to tie Kim to New York City Democratic Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist who has called for the abolishment of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). It has been demanding that Kim announce whether or not he supports Ocasio-Cortez’s position. So far Kim hasn’t taken the dangerous bait.

The elephant in the room in the guilt-by-association game is, of course, President Trump. He is busy flying around the country supporting Republican candidates. Will he offer an appearance to MacArthur? Would MacArthur accept? Would Trump campaign for a Republican candidate in a blue state where a presidential appearance would almost surely attract protesters?

It could be an interesting, and vicious, autumn.

— Rick Mellerup

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