Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley joined 3rd district congressional candidate Andy Kim at a house in Lumberton to fire up voters just nine days out from the year’s midterm elections.
“One of the things you need these days is you need somebody who really is smart enough to understand the complexity of the issues yet human enough to understand how that complexity interacts with real people in their lives every day, trying to make better lives for themselves and their family, and I think Andy does that,” said Bradley, who represented New Jersey in the Senate for 18 years.
With time before the polls open running out, campaigns have accelerated their campaign schedule and redoubled their get-out-the-vote efforts.
A portion of the roughly 50 people that attended the event early Sunday afternoon stayed after Bradley and Kim finished their respective speeches to phone bank for the latter.
Kim, for his part, gave a personal speech that touched little on politics or policy, grazing both and mostly only in ways they related to the futures of his children.
“I started this because I’m a father of two baby boys. I started this because I worry deeply about their health,” Kim said. “I started this because in their short lives already they’ve had a lot of health problems, and I don’t know what kind of world they’re going to inherit. I don’t know what’s going to happen as they grow older.”
A portion of his speech was also dedicated to framing his run as one done for the people.
“When I started this campaign, it was never about the politics. It was always about the people, always about our community,” Kim said. “And we’ve gone through this, I hope we’ve built a campaign that you are proud of.”
That pride is likely what will decide the neck-and-neck contest between Kim, a former Obama White House aide, and Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River).
A New York Times/Siena poll released last Thursday put MacArthur ahead by a single point. A Monmouth University poll released that Monday put Kim up by two.
The candidates’ core voting blocs are on opposite ends of the district, with Kim’s base residing in Burlington County, and MacArthur’s lying in Ocean County.
In all likelihood, the race will be decided by whichever base is more animated, a point Kim well knows.
“This campaign is in your hands now, so don’t mess up,” Kim said to laughs from the crowd. “What happens on Nov. 6 and what direction our nation takes after that day will come down to who wins in New Jersey’s third congressional district.”
“You know that, so no pressure, ok?” said Kim.