Second District Congressional Debate Set for Oct. 10

Aug 15, 2018

If you are following the 2018 midterm elections, circle Wednesday, Oct. 10 on your calendar.

That’s when the major party candidates in the New Jersey 2nd Congressional District race, Democratic state Sen. Jeff Van Drew and Republican Seth Grossman, a former Atlantic City councilman and Atlantic Country freeholder, will meet in a debate at Stockton University Campus Center Theatre. The 2nd District includes all of Southern Ocean County except half of Stafford Township and all of Barnegat Township.

The debate will be cosponsored by Stockton’s William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy and The Press of Atlantic City.

The 2nd District race is attracting national attention because it is a battle for an open seat in a very contentious election year. Longtime 2nd District Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a Republican, is retiring, making the seat an obvious target for Democrats who hope to gain the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Further details about the debate, including time and format, will be released in the near future.

Many congressional races across the country have already turned into mudslinging, negative campaign slugfests. However Van Drew and Grossman have so far mostly avoided the dirt, focusing instead on issues.

One issue sure to be brought up at the debate is immigration policy.

Grossman is a hardliner on the issue.

“I pledge to be America’s strongest advocate in Congress for immigration controls and for cracking down on violent criminal illegal aliens, like the animals in MS-13 who terrorize our communities,” said the candidate on a Facebook post.

Indeed, immigration, even legal immigration, is the first issue Grossman addressed on his campaign website.

“Reduce legal immigration to sustainable levels. Immigration laws were strictly enforced from 1917 to 1966. Legal immigration was limited to roughly 300,000 per year. This allowed immigrants and their children to quickly learn English and become mainstream Americans. These immigration laws also promoted high wages, full employment, good schools, low taxes, and safe neighborhoods.


“Beginning in 1965, Ted Kennedy Democrats completely changed our immigration laws. The new 1965 immigration laws had the purpose and effect of dividing and weakening America. If we do not act quickly they will destroy America as the free, safe, prosperous, and united country most of us grew up in.”

Van Drew takes a more nuanced position.

“We need comprehensive reform that must start by strengthening border security and cracking down on employers who knowingly circumvent the law,” reads a statement on Van Drew’s website. “Additionally, by requiring employers to verify workers we will reduce the hiring of unauthorized workers, increase the accessibility of visas for high-skilled workers, and allow law-abiding immigrant families to come out of the shadows, pay taxes, play by the rules, and earn their citizenship. We need realistic approaches to protect children that came here as minors and grew up identifying as Americans, and policies that treat them fairly.”

The candidates also differ widely on gun control and healthcare issues. Van Drew supports “commonsense reforms” to reduce gun violence while Grossman wants “qualified, trained, law abiding” school employees to carry weapons.” Van Drew says, “Together, we must focus on reforms to the Affordable Care Act that protect our families and small businesses, and work to lower the high cost of healthcare and prescription drugs.” Grossman wants to “repeal remnants of Obamacare.”

— Rick Mellerup


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