The political arm of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the union that collectively bargains on behalf of many of the state’s public school teachers, has endorsed incumbent Rep. Tom MacArthur (R) in 2016’s 3rd district congressional election. The 3rd district spans much of Ocean County, and portions of Burlington.
This week, the NJEA formally backed incumbent Congressman Tom MacArthur in his first reelection campaign. The freshman representative was first elected in 2014 after John Runyan left office, and MacArthur is currently being challenged by Democrat Frederick John LaVergne of Delanco (Burlington County) in this year’s election.
“NJEA members and their families are committed to supporting candidates who recognize the national benefits of a quality system of public education and who respect and support the work of public school employees,” said NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer. “We are proud to endorse these candidates on the basis of their commitment to public education and New Jersey families.”
In other congressional districts that cover parts of Ocean County, the union endorsed the following candidates:
- CD2 – Frank LoBiondo (R)
- CD4 – Lorna Phillipson (D)
Congressman MacArthur most recently made a campaign stop – accompanied by Berkeley Mayor Carmen Amato and CREA union officials – at Central Regional Middle School in Bayville for an NJEA “teacher for a day” publicity event, which was on the same day of the 2016 June primary election.
MacArthur operatives scored another minor victory earlier this month, as a a challenge that campaign surrogates filed against a would-be Libertarian candidate for the CD3 seat resulted in the candidate – who may have taken away some conservative voters from MacArthur – being booted from the November ballot after a hearing was held by election officials.
Fred LaVergne Says MacArthur Is A “Norcross Republican”
Rep. MacArthur’s Democratic foe Fred LaVergne brushed off the union’s endorsement of the incumbent Republican.
Asked to respond to the NJEA’s public support for his rival Saturday night, Mr. LaVergne said he was not surprised that the union chose to endorse MacArthur over himself, with the self-described “anti-corruption” congressional challenger alleging that politics – not his platform – were the cause of him being denied the endorsement.
A central theme of the candidate’s rhetoric has been an alleged political detente orchestrated by county Republican and Democratic leaders due to the political clout of South Jersey Democratic Boss George Norcross, the executive chairman of Conner Strong & Buckelew – with the Buckelew being former Republican Ocean County Freeholder Joseph Buckelew.
“Of course they’re going to endorse MacArthur,” LaVergne said. “He’s a Norcross Republican, the gamesmanship has been obvious from day one.”
In response to the NJEA endorsement of his rival, the CD3 candidate touted his own responses to NJEA questions. “If you read the answers on the surveys they sent to me, I would love to see what Mr. MacArthur’s answers were.
“I would love to hear the answers submitted by my opponent, and, if they seem informed and valid, I would love to meet who wrote them for him.”