Ocean County Politics

Inside Ocean County Government

3rd Congressional District, Election 2016

LaVergne Slams “Do-Nothing” MacArthur, “Gilmore Machine” in Stafford

Fred LaVergne speaks. (Photo by Gavin Rozzi)

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP – Democratic congressional candidate Frederick LaVergne strongly rebuked his incumbent opponent and other Ocean County political leaders on the campaign trail in Ocean Acres this Saturday, speaking at a party event featuring candidates up and down the ballot. Mr. LaVergne is challenging freshman Rep. Tom MacArthur (R) in the 3rd congressional district, which covers much of Ocean County.

Frederick LaVergne pulled no punches while speaking this weekend to his fellow Democrats at a campaign event, intensifying his pitch in the final weeks of the 2016 race. During his remarks, Mr. LaVergne introduced his so-called “5 point plan” that focuses on a handful of key issues he is emphasizing in this year’s race.

Rep. MacArthur

Rep. MacArthur

Fred LaVergne

Fred LaVergne

After laying out several changes to healthcare legislation that he pledged to advocate for in Congress, LaVergne took a swipe at MacArthur’s corporate background as a former insurance executive.

“Healthcare is not a privilege, which my opponent would love to tell you that it is,” he said.

LaVergne’s opponent, Rep. MacArthur, has campaigned against the healthcare reform legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Obama earlier in his presidency, while LaVergne argues that changes can be made to the law to make it more palatable to opponents.

“His idea of tort reform is you shouldn’t be allowed to sue an insurance company,” quipped the Democratic challenger.

“If you want to see real reform, we have to send somebody to that office who is going to legislate,” he said. “That’s my intention.”

Down The Ballot

The Democratic nominee said one of his campaign’s major priorities has been coordinating with “down the ballot” candidates, similar to LaVergne’s slate of “Ocean County Anti-Corruption Democrats” that ran under him during the bitter 2016 primary campaign, a rare occurrence on the Democratic side in Ocean County.

Kobryn (left) LaVergne (right)

Kobryn (left) LaVergne (right)

The congressional candidate publicly praised Little Egg Harbor Mayor Eugene “Gene” Kobryn, who recently left the GOP and his now running for reelection as a Democrat against former Republican Mayor Barbara “Bobbi Jo” Crea in the southern Ocean County township.

“Mr. Kobryn here has stood against the corruption in his own town, and after serving admirably already, has realized that if he doesn’t cut those strings and work forward for the people, they’re going to make things worse,” said LaVergne, introducing Kobryn. “He’s here to make things better.”

LaVergne Says Ocean GOP Base Is Sick Of “Gilmore Machine And The Kelly Corruption”

George Gilmore

George Gilmore

Freeholder Kelly

Freeholder Kelly

Mr. LaVergne, a resident of Burlington County, said he expects that the lead given to him by the Democratic base of that county will carry him, much like his primary victory against Monmouth County’s Jim Keady.

In Ocean County, LaVergne claims that a big factor in whether or not he will win will be how well he does with disaffected Ocean County Republicans, not unlike those backing Barnegat Mayor John Novak’s freeholder campaign. The congressional candidate claims nearly 1/3rd of the GOP will cross over and vote for him, a Democrat, due to a lack of enthusiasm for the OC GOP’s line candidates.

“We are supported by as much of a third of the Republicans who can’t stand the Gilmore machine, the Kelly corruption, or my do-nothing opponent.”

LaVergne, who bills himself as a “centrist Democrat,” says that demographic is what could make a difference between a win and a loss in Ocean County for his congressional bid.

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