Close Race In CD3 Heats Up With Event Focused On Women And Health Care

NJTV News — October 25, 2018

BY Briana Vannozzi, Correspondent

President Trump is not on the ballot in the staunchly Republican 3rd Congressional District, but the only New Jersey representative to vote for the GOP tax cuts and one of those who voted for President's repeal of Obama Care, Republican Tom MacArthur's in a neck and neck race for re-election. Briana Vannozzi is with some forces aligning against him.

Thursday's event wasn't the first one New Jersey Citizen Action has held in this vein. They called it the 'We Win When Women Vote' campaign, and last week they held a rally urging female voters to unseat Republican Leonard Lance. Thursday they turned to the 3rd District and incumbent Rep. Tom MacArthur. Specifically, they targeted MacArthur's votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and his work with health care. According to polls, health care costs seem to be the top concern on voter's minds this election cycle. First Lady Tammy Murphy headlined Thursday's event along with two cancer survivors and other activists. They all pledged support for MacArthur's Democratic challenger, Andy Kim.

"The fact that he helped pass the legislation to give tax breaks to the wealthy and to the corporations on one hand, and he has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act on the other hand. That in and of itself should be enough for all of us here in our great state of New Jersey to say, 'No way, no more,'" Murphy said.

"Congressman MacArthur went out of his way to author and introduce an amendment to repeal and replace the ACA. He was not acting in the best interest of his constituents. In fact, his actions would hurt Americans as a whole," said Debbie White, president of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees Union.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman was expected at the event, but took ill and had to cancel last minute, according to sources. The event was held in Burlington County — a Democratic stronghold for Kim. The district stretches across the southern half of the state from Burlington County to eastern Ocean County, where MacArthur's support is strongest. A new poll out Thursday from Monmouth University puts the two candidates in a statistical dead heat. It's relatively unchanged from the last poll in August. Kim has a 48 percent lead to MacArthur's 46 percent.

More notable, though, is the change in favorable opinions about the candidates. Potential voters polled are growing more negative about Tom MacArthur — 34 percent have an unfavorable opinion — that's roughly a 10 percent increase since August. Equally the same, about 35 percent have a favorable view. And it could be due to ads tying the incumbent to special interests.

NJTV reached out to MacArthur's campaign and a spokesperson sent a statement regarding the First Lady's involvement, saying: "We would suggest it takes a tremendous amount of chutzpah to do a news conference lecturing anyone about how women should be treated in light of what we learned about the inner workings of the Murphy campaign and administration in the last couple weeks."

Referring of course to the investigation into the hiring of a Murphy aide accused of sexually assaulting a campaign staffer last year. The race is heating up down here.

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