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Rep. Frank Pallone following a press conference in New Brunswick. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

Pallone sees hope for Democrats in midterm elections

Democratic congressman stands to lose committee chairmanship if Republicans flip House

By Joey Fox, September 23 2022 3:00 pm

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch), in office since 1988, has seen a lot of midterm elections come and go. And with both the House and the Senate seemingly in play this year, Pallone said today that he’s feeling optimistic about Democrats’ chances of holding onto Congress.

“I think everything looks good,” Pallone said in a brief interview following a press conference in New Brunswick. “I mean, in the last few months, it’s pretty obvious that there’s a lot more energy on the Democratic side.” 

Pallone attributed this energy to Democratic legislative successes like the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS bill, as well as to U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have undermined liberal policies around the country.

“Of course, the public is very upset with the Supreme Court decisions – not only the Dobbs decision, which is infringing on women’s health, but so many other decisions,” he said.

After years of winning against only token opposition, Pallone faces a real challenger this year in Monmouth County Commissioner Sue Kiley, who’s fresh off a landslide re-election victory in 2021. But Pallone’s redrawn 6th district is quite Democratic – President Joe Biden would have won it by 20 points in 2020 – and Kiley’s campaign has failed to attract the kind of attention she’d need to make it a top race.

Assuming he wins another term, Pallone has a lot to lose if Republicans flip the House, which prognosticators think is the most likely outcome. Since Democrats won House control in 2018, Pallone has chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee, giving him a highly influential voice in nationwide policymaking – a voice that would be muted if he were demoted to ranking member in 2023.

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