MacArthur, Kim Trade Jabs in Third District Campaign

Aug 14, 2018

Last week the SandPaper reported that the New Jersey 3rd Congressional District race, which features Republican incumbent Tom MacArthur and Democratic challenger Andy Kim, was going negative, with both campaigns trying to tie their opponents to controversial figures in Washington.

The onslaught continued on Wednesday when Rep. Chris Collins, a Republican from western New York State, was arrested on federal charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI. After originally saying he wouldn’t drop out of his re-election race, Collins suspended his campaign on Saturday. In the meantime, Kim’s campaign took advantage of the situation.

“MacArthur’s ally and donor, Rep. Chris Collins, was arrested for securities fraud, wire fraud, and false statements,” said a campaign statement issued Wednesday. “Today, we call on Congressman MacArthur to return Collins’ tainted campaign cash. Anything else is unacceptable.”

MacArthur had received $1,000 from a Collins political action committee.

The Kim campaign followed up with another statement on Thursday.

“It’s been 24 hours, and while other Republicans are donating the tainted funds, Tom MacArthur has yet to return or donate the dirty campaign money he accepted from now-indicted Congressman Chris Collins,” said Kim spokesman Forest Rilling. “The fact that MacArthur continues to hold his money, even after other GOP allies have donated it, is deeply troubling.”

Chris Russell, MacArthur’s campaign manager, responded.

“Andy needs to get his facts straight, as usual,” said Russell. MacArthur, he said, had donated the $1,000 to three non-profits, with $250 going to Operation Yellow Ribbon of South Jersey, $250 sent to the Ocean County PBA, and $500 for a breakfast sponsorship for a Hope Sheds Light Walk” (a Toms River-based non-profit dedicated to educating families on the disease of addiction).

The money in question was gone but the association with Collins had already been questioned.

It was a good week for Kim. A Monmouth University poll showed Kim and MacArthur essentially tied.

According to Monmouth, “When applying two different likely voter models, the contest shifts in the Democrat’s favor, although it remains basically tied. A historical midterm model gives Kim 45 percent support and MacArthur 44 percent, while a model that includes a turnout surge in Democratic precincts gives Kim a slight 46 percent to 43 percent lead.”

The 3rd District includes the western half of Stafford Township and all of Barnegat Township.

—R.M.

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