Monday, May 22, 2017

New Jersey: Defeating A Frelinghuysen


When I was very young, my family used to rent a summer bungalow in Ft. Freedom, New Jersey, northwest of Morristown in what is now Rodney Frelinghuysen's congressional district (NJ-11). He inherited this political domain from the Frelinghuysen dynasty and his great wealth from his mother's family, Beatice Proctor an heir to the Proctor and Gamble fortune. His father represented the area from 1953 to 1975 and his grandfather, Freddy Frelinghuysen was a New Jersey senator (and a vice presidential nominee under Henry Clay in 1844. Frelinghuysen's great-great-great-great-grandfather, another Freddy Frelinghuysen, was one of the framers of the U.S. Constitution and later a U.S. Senator from New Jersey. The current inbred goof-ball, Rodney Procter Frelinghuysen the 4th or 5th or 6th, was a spoiled, poor student but everything has always been handed to him on a silver platter. And if he didn't have enough from the GOP, the DCCC has never challenged him and has been giving him free passes to reelection since 1994. He normally wins reelection with well over 60% of the vote, sometimes with over 70%, against Democrats with no support and no money. Last year's 194,299 (58.0%) to 130,162 (38.9%) was his narrowest-ever win. Maybe his support for Trump dragged him down. Romney had beaten Obama in the R+6 district 53-47% but Señor Trumpanzee underperformed, taking the district narrowly, 48.8% to 47.9%.

That caught the DCCC's attention and they're now saying they're interested in supporting a candidate. Two weak candidates have put themselves forward, Jack Gebbia and Mikie Sherrill but locals-- as well as the DCCC-- are eager to recruit progressive West Orange Assemblyman John McKeon. Aside from an excellent voting record and record of leadership in the Assembly, in New Jersey's corrupt political cesspool, McKeon is a rare incumbent with a good reputation. As far back as March, Politico was speculating that Frelinghuysen’s streak of effortless elections may come to an end in 2018, just as he’s at the height of his power as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. And that was before he flip-flopped on TrumpCare, first claiming he couldn't vote for it and then-- even as the House Freedom Caucus made it a worse bill-- decided to vote for it anyway.

Anti-Trump activists have incessantly called on Frelinghuysen to hold a town hall somewhere in North Jersey’s 11th District, which includes all or parts of Morris, Essex Passaic and Sussex counties. He’s refused, so they’ve protested at his office asking "Where's Rodney?" and held mock town halls. The recently-started Facebook group “NJ 11th for Change,” through which protests against Frelinghuysen are publicized, has more than 7,000 members.

And now, NJ 11th for Change has a super PAC, founded last month by Google executive Jonathan Bellack and local bank executive Saily Avelenda. Organizers claim it raised $10,000 in its first day and another $10,000 in its first week simply through seeking contributions on Facebook.

“We’re not your traditional super PAC,” said Debra Caplan, who serves on the super PAC’s board and on the steering committee of the larger NJ 11th for Change organization. “We’re a citizens super PAC. We’re a group of ordinary people who decided to start a super PAC because we want to be able to create material and distribute information about what’s happening in the congressional district and things that are coming down the line.

...Critics point to Frelinghuysen's decreasing vote ratings by groups like Planned Parenthood and his increasing ratings with groups like the National Rifle Association.

Redistricting in 2011 didn’t do Frelinghuysen any favors by taking away some conservative territory and adding some Democratic towns, including part of the liberal bastion of Montclair, in Essex County. In 2010, the district had 150,000 Republicans to 100,000 Democrats. Now, it has 165,000 Republicans and 152,000 Democrats.

...Matt Hale, a professor of political science at Seton Hall University, said Frelinghuysen could be vulnerable.

“The anger that people are feeling toward Donald Trump seems to be spilling over all over New Jersey. I do think that could crystalize into an effective opposition,” he said.

Caplan said several people have expressed interest in challenging the 70-year-old Frelinghuysen. Only one Democrat, however, has publicly entertained the notion: Assemblyman John McKeon, who comes from a Democratic part of the district in suburban Essex County.

Even with a super PAC doing some of the lifting, whomever runs against Frelinghuysen will likely be financially outgunned. As chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Frelinghuysen, who in the last election raised $2 million-- half of it from corporate PACs-- despite token opposition, will not have trouble raising money.
Frelinghuysen rakes in immense sums (bribes) from war contactors and Big PhRMA and in the last cycle spent $1,669,366 although his 3 opponents, Democrat Joe Wenzel, Libertarian Jeff Hetrick and independent Tom Depasquale spent a combined total of... zero. None had even raised the $5,000 that would trigger an FEC report. McKeon, on the other hand, is a strong fund-raiser and would certainly be the first opponent to give Frelinghuysen a real run.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home