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Rep. Josh Gottheimer at an abortion-focused press conference in Hackensack. (Photo: Rep. Josh Gottheimer via Twitter).

What N.J. candidates said and did today

Gottheimer stumps for abortion, Healey calls for a balanced budget, and more

By Joey Fox, September 19 2022 5:09 pm

50 days until Election Day. 53 congressional hopefuls on New Jersey’s ballots. Here’s what New Jersey’s candidates were up to today.

Gottheimer takes pro-abortion stand in Hackensack

At an event in Hackensack today, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) fiercely advocated for the right to abortion, calling the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade “extreme” and “devastating.”

“This is an unwarranted breach of personal privacy, and it puts a woman’s life at risk,” Gottheimer said. “All you need to do is open your history books and read about what life was like for women and reproductive health in our country before Roe – the countless lives lost every year – and you’ll understand why the federal court decision is so egregious.”

Flanked by State Sen. Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood) and Bergen County Commissioners Mary Amoroso and Germaine Ortiz, Gottheimer advocated for codifying Roe v. Wade, protecting in vitro fertilization, and safeguarding women’s private health data.

“We’re taking this fight standing up, not sitting down,” Gottheimer said. “Until we [codify Roe], far-right extremists will continue to take away women’s rights to choose, even in cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother. I’m calling on the Senate to act, like we have in New Jersey, to protect a woman’s right to choose.”

For now, at least, the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson allows individual states to determine what restrictions to apply to abortion, and New Jersey’s liberal laws mean abortions in the state are as legal now as they was before Roe was overturned. But some national Republicans, most prominently U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), have proposed overarching federal legislation that would limit abortion regardless of individual state laws.

Given the unpopularity of such proposed bans, New Jersey’s congressional Democrats have run hard on protecting abortion; two of Gottheimer’s colleagues in the House, Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), have already aired TV ads slamming their Republican opponents on the issue.

Teamsters team up for Kim

Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) unveiled two endorsements from teamsters unions, Teamsters Local 676 and Teamsters Joint Council 53, in his bid for a third term representing the 3rd congressional district.

The two unions previously endorsed Kim for re-election in 2020. In 2018, however, their umbrella organization, the New Jersey Building & Construction Trades Council, backed Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River), whom Kim ultimately unseated in a tight race.

Separately, Kim also opened a new Hamilton Township campaign office yesterday. The light-blue community of more than 90,000 people was until recently in the 4th congressional district, and was in fact the hometown of Rep. Chris Smith (R-Manchester) until the new lines were drawn, so Kim faces the task of introducing himself to a huge number of new voters.

Healey wants budget to be as balanced as his yoga poses

Kim’s Republican opponent, Viking Yachts CEO Bob Healey Jr., released a statement today calling for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a frequent rallying cry among fiscal conservatives seeking to rein in the federal deficit.

“Congress has repeatedly shown itself incapable of acting in a fiscally responsible manner,” Healey said. “Year after year the Congress ‘plays chicken’ with federal programs, resorting to 11th hour spending resolutions to keep the federal government open. Any business owner knows if they did this, they wouldn’t have a profitable business for very long.”

With a government funding deadline looming on September 30, there have been some worries that intra-party Democratic dissent over energy permitting could lead to a shutdown, though the chances of that still seem very low. But Healey said that government spending should be decreased wholesale, something a balanced budget amendment could help accomplish.

“A recent Congressional Budget Office report suggested that the federal budget deficit could exceed $1 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2022, and legislation to increase the nation’s debt ceiling without any serious contemplation of how to slow spending is all but an annual event,” he said. “We need to press pause.”

The great Camden detente

A governor, a former governor, and a political power broker walk into a hospital.

Gov. Phil Murphy, former Gov. Chris Christie, and South Jersey Democratic kingpin George Norcross, all of whom have a complex history of tangling with one another, came together this afternoon to commemorate the expansion of Cooper University Hospital in Camden. (Also in attendance was Kelly Ripa, the talk show host and daughter of Camden County Clerk Joseph Ripa.)

None of the three, of course, are running for anything this year, and in fact none are likely to run in a New Jersey state election ever again. But Christie and Murphy are both floating potential presidential runs in 2024, so it might not be long until one or both start making the rounds for votes and donations once again.

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