The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has awarded Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) their Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisanship, a recognition that goes to just 20 House members based on legislation that receives support from colleagues of the other party.
“Many are looking to our nation’s government and elected leaders for answers during this time,” said Jack Howard, the Chamber of Commerce vice president. “We need pragmatic political leaders who have the courage to solve huge business and economic growth issues through common sense solutions built from a durable political center, not ideological corners.”
Smith was re-elected to a 20th term in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 after receiving endorsements from the AFL-CIO, the New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council, the Asbury Park Press and Giffords, the gun safety advocacy organization founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly.
“I have long felt that bipartisanship is about respect for other people even when there are fundamental disagreements. Bipartisanship is not an end unto itself, but can be a practical, good faith way of understanding different views in order to achieve fair, equitable and sustainable solutions to problems,” Smith said. “More often than not, bipartisanship helps build support and consensus for effective policies.
On January 3,2021, Smith is set to tie Rep. Peter W. Rodino’s record for the greatest number of years in the House. If he’s re-elected this year, he’ll break the record as soon as he takes the oath of office for his 21st term in Congress.
With 22,296 more Republicans than Democrats, the 4th is the only House district in New Jersey to become more Republican over the last decade. When the last map was drawn after the 2010 census, the district had 12,193 more Republicans than Democrats.
The 4th is also the only congressional district in the state where Republicans outnumber Democrats.
Smith was first elected to Congress in 1980, at age 27, after thirteen-term Rep. Frank B. Thompson, Jr. (D-Trenton) was indicted as part of the Abscam scandal. Smith won, 57%-41%, in a district that Ronald Reagan carried by three points.
Democrats thought they had a shot at beating Smith last year when Democrat Josh Welle raised $1.8 million, the often underestimated GOP congressman raised $1.5 million and won by 12 percentage points.