NEW JERSEY’S TEA PARTIERS LOSING GROUND
Democrats Seizing Opportunity in LD-16
(Trenton) – The New Jersey Democratic State Committee sees clear signs that New Jersey’s Tea Partying legislators, such as Assemblywoman Donna Simon, are losing ground in the wake of the federal government shutdown, just as their Democratic challengers receive outside boosts – signs that bode well for Democratic majorities in the state legislature next year.
In Legislative District 16 (LD16), a suburban district to the northeast of Trenton, Assemblywoman Simon -- who cultivated Tea Party support by voting against marriage equality, family planning services, environmental protection and gun control legislation -- is, increasingly, at odds with her district, where 53 percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party and 38 percent have a very unfavorable impression of the extremist group.
Simon earned the endorsement of New Jersey’s Tea Party during her special election in 2012, addresses local Tea Party meetings and embraces the group on the networking platform, LinkedIn. In the wake of the damaging federal government shutdown, these associations are undermining her candidacy.
Meanwhile, Simon’s Democratic Challenger, Marie Corfield, who was named to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee’s list of ten “emerging races,” is, according to publicly available reports, benefiting from more than $200,000 in favorable advertising by independent expenditure groups that recognize the competitiveness of the contest.
In 2012, the LD16 match-up was decided by less than 1,000 votes (a mere 1 percent of the vote) and remains closely divided. In the recent special election for U.S. Senate, Cory Booker won the district. In that contest, losing Tea Party candidate Steve Lonegan attributed his defeat to the government shutdown.
The threat of default brought on by the fringe group of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives – a group that includes New Jersey Congressmen Leonard Lance, whose district overlaps much of LD16 -- pushed the United States economy to the brink of collapse, cost an estimated $24 billion, and cut .6% of growth off of the Gross Domestic Product. Even before the shutdown, polling by MoveOn.org, indicated that more New Jerseyans disapprove of Lance’s representation than approve of it by a double digit margin.
Similarly, a Washington Post/ABC Poll found that nearly three quarters of Americans disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress handled negotiations over the budget (74 percent), up from 63 percent since the start of the shutdown.