The Latino Action Network Continuing Political Committee (LAN-PAC) has endorsed Bob Menendez for re-election to the U.S. Senate and is backing eight Democrats for New Jersey’s twelve House seats.
The group has declined to take sides in the hotly contested 3rd district race between Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) and Democrat Andy Kim, a former Obama White House staffer.
LAN-PAC is backing Democrat Tom Malinowski, a former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State, in his bid to unseat five-term Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) in the 7th district and is supporting former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mikie Sherrill for the open 11th district seat.
The grassroots group is also staying out of the open seat 2nd district race between State Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis) and Republican Seth Grossman, a former Atlantic County freeholder who has been accused of making racist statements.
“We believe that we need to send a clear message to Donald Trump and elect Democrats to Congress,” said LAN President Christian Estevez. “Donald Trump has spent the last few years scapegoating Latinos and the immigrant community in general. Many of those running on the Republican side have done nothing to distance themselves from the President’s objectionable remarks and hatred.”
LAN-PAC is also staying out of the 4th district race between 19-term Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) and Democrat Josh Welle.
Estevez praised Menendez’s record in the Senate and bashed Republican Bob Hugin as a greedy pharmaceutical executive.
“During his career in Congress, Menendez has proven himself to be a champion of comprehensive immigration reform and a voice of reason in the US Senate,” Estevez said. “His opponent is an unethical businessman, who as a pharmaceutical executive, was responsible for a steep cost increase in badly needed medicine. Now he wants to use his wealth to buy a U.S. Senate seat, while lying about his close ties to Trump.”The harshest comments of all were about Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), a freshman congressman.
“We are very disappointed with Congressman Josh Gottheimer. Despite being elected as a Democrat, he has sided with the Republican majority far too often in his short time in Congress on key issues such as immigration and health care,” the LAN-PAC statement said. “His Republican opponent (John McCann) adheres to the same anti-immigrant principles as Donald Trump. Therefore, we cannot recommend that anyone vote for either of these candidates.”
The group has also endorsed the re-elections of Reps. Donald Norcross (D-Camden), Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch), Albio Sires (D-West New York), Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing).
“Congressman Payne has called out the lack of progress rebuilding Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria and Trump’s poor response to it. For that, and his progressive stance on the issues, he deserves to be re-elected,” the statement said.