The Cook Political Report, one of the country’s preeminent election forecasters, shifted New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district from Likely Democratic to Lean Democratic this morning, indicating that Republican Bob Healey has a fighting chance of beating Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown).
Kim was first elected in 2018, defeating Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) in New Jersey’s closest House race that year, and was re-elected by a larger margin in 2020. This year, mapmakers on the Congressional Redistricting Commission made the 3rd district far more Democratic in an effort to shore up Kim going forward.
But while Kim started out the cycle as a prohibitive favorite, Healey has run a strong campaign focusing on crime and inflation, two issues that voters of both parties consider of top importance. Healey and his allies at Garden State Advance, a super PAC funded by his mom, have combined to outspend Kim, though Kim is a strong fundraiser in his own right.
“Kim has aggressively attacked Healey for wanting to ‘cut taxes for multi-millionaires like himself, including yacht taxes,’” the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman wrote about the ratings change. “But even Kim allies admit the race has tightened.”
When New Jersey’s map was first approved, Wasserman rated the 3rd district as Safe Democratic, but he shifted it to Likely Democratic in April. Two months later, Healey beat a far-right opponent in the Republican primary, setting him up for a matchup against Kim.
Cook considers two other New Jersey races competitive this year: the Leans Republican 7th district contest between Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) and former Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), and the Likely Democratic race between Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and 2020 Republican nominee Frank Pallotta.
As recently as 2016, Republicans held fully half of New Jersey’s 12 House seats. They likely won’t be getting back to that total anytime soon, but Malinowski is widely regarded as an underdog and Kim now seems to be in a very real race.