A controversial former Trump administration official who used to work for Breitbart News, has entered the race to challenge freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis) in New Jersey’s 2nd district.
Robert Patterson, who served as a senior advisor and acting associate commissioner of the U.S. Social Security Administration in their Office of Strategic and Digital Communications, is making his second bid for Congress. He won 37% of the vote in the 1st district against Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden) in 2016.
Patterson was forced to resign his post in the administration of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett in 2012 after the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that he was simultaneously working as an editor of The Family in America, which advocates for the “natural human family.”
Among Patterson’s provocative statements: he complained that condoms deprive woman of the “remarkable” chemicals found in semen that help elevate mood and self-esteem and argued that “semen-exposed” women have better concentration and cognitive skills.
Birth control, Patterson said, weakens a women’s “natural sense of attraction to men who would be a good biological match and enable her to conceive easily and bear healthy children.”
He also suggested that working mothers is a government-created problem that hurts marriages and “the well-being of children.”
“Congress incentivized family breakup by creating a child-support system that virtually guarantees divorcing mothers and their children an income stream without requiring those women, who initiate two-thirds of marital disruptions, to demonstrate any wrongdoing on the part of the father,” Patterson said. “All this needs to go.”
He said that health officials could combat childhood obesity by finding ways to get mothers back into the home.
Patterson maintains that by offering advantages to young women, “affirmative action has disrupted the marriage market and helped lead to dramatic increases in cohabitation and single households.”
In the past, Patterson has also worked for the Family Research Council and the International Organization for the Family, both fervent opponents of gay rights.
“Gay marriage, like all the liberal ideas of the 1970s–including no-fault divorce, abortion on demand, cohabitation, and daycare–does not and cannot serve the common good,” Patterson said in a 2004 op-ed for Human Events Online.
Patterson slammed the American Psychiatric Association for removing homosexuality from a list of mental disorders, and wrote that sexual orientation can be forcibly changed.
“Because it predates society and the state, wedlock actually creates, builds, and renews society. Same-sex marriage — a construct that depends on the state for its very existence — can never duplicate these functions,” Patterson wrote in 2009. “Of course, insisting that marriage law should reflect what nature, history, and reason affirm risks offending not so much homosexuals as cultural elites who care little about America.”
After being pushed out of his $104,000-a-year job in Pennsylvania, the Corbett administration distanced itself from Patterson’s comments.
Despite that, South Jersey Republicans still gave Patterson their organization line when he decided to run for Congress.
He hasn’t raised any money yet for his challenge to Van Drew. Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show no money raised or spent in the second quarter of 2019. He is still carrying a $12959 debt from his last campaign, including an $11,750 loan. He has no cash-on-hand.
According to FEC records, he has already signed veteran campaign compliance consultant Liz Curtis. She worked for Seth Grossman in his 2018 bid for Congress.
Patterson was the vice president for government relations at the U.S Business & Industry Council and worked in President George W. Bush’s administration as a speechwriter.
Former Atlantic County Young Republican Chairman Brian Fitzherbert has already entered the race. He announced on Monday that he had signed on Ted Cruz’s political consulting firm and the polling company founded by Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway.
Self-funder David Richter, the former CEO of Hill International,
Republicans think Van Drew, unbeatable during his seventeen years in the New Jersey Legislature, is vulnerable after winning 53% against former Atlantic County freeholder Seth Grossman last year.
Trump won the 2nd district by 14,830 votes (50%-46%) in 2016.
The seat was held for 24 years by Republican Frank LoBiondo (R-Ventnor), who did not seek re-election in 2018.