Count Rep. Tom MacArthur among the Republicans opposing a bill sponsored by State Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin that would allow candidates to run for the presidency and another federal office at the same time.
“I think they’re passing a completely partisan bill to benefit one U.S. Senator,” MacArthur said. “I wasn’t aware that we made laws today just to benefit one person. My focus has always been to try to do the most good for the most people, but the state legislature I guess thinks that a bill just to benefit [U.S. Sen.] Cory Booker is the right answer. I don’t agree with it.”
The so-called Booker bill, which MacArthur said Gov. Phil Murphy should not sign, is being fast tracked through the legislature and passed through the State Senate Budget Committee in a vote along party lines yesterday.
Though the bill does not mention Booker by name, he’s the only member of New Jersey’s congressional delegation to have publicly mulled a run at the presidency.
Current state law does not prohibit one from running for Congress and the presidency at the same time, it does not explicitly allow it, meaning Booker would likely face lawsuits seeking to force him to drop out of one race if the Booker bill was not passed.
Kentucky passed a similar law in 2016 to allow U.S. Sen. Rand Paul to run for President and the U.S. Senate simultaneously.
In theory, the Booker bill allows any federal office seeker to run for congress and the presidency at the same time, including, say, someone like MacArthur, though the congressman expressed no desire to do so.
“It’s a fair assumption,” MacArthur said when asked if it was fair to assume he wouldn’t be running against Trump and seeking reelection in 2020.