Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Candidates Go Anti-Trump in District 11

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Candidates Go Anti-Trump in District 11

Article excerpt

MORRISTOWN — Six Republican and Democratic candidates want to take U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's seat next year and, after declaring their platforms at a forum on Wednesday, it seems they'll be using an anti-Trump campaign to do it.

Frelinghuysen, the 12-term Republican congressman representing New Jersey's District 11, did not attend the forum, but his sole challenger in the June primary, Martin Hewitt, did attend and made sure to distinguish himself as the "fiscally conservative, social moderate" Republican.

The Congressional Candidates Forum was held at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship. It was moderated by The Record's Washington Correspondent Herb Jackson and sponsored by NJ 11th For Change and BlueWaterNJ, grassroots organizations that are not affiliated with any party.

"I can't support someone who supports racism," said Hewitt, an East Brunswick attorney, of President Donald Trump when asked he if would stand up against him. Hewitt recently changed his party affiliation from independent to Republican to challenge Frelinghuysen in the primary.

Six candidates will battle it out for the Democratic party nomination, including Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett, Mitchell Cobert, Jack Gebbia, Tamara Harris, Mikie Sherrill and Mark Washburne. Gebbia, of Boonton, did not attend the forum.

Hewitt, along with the Democratic candidates who attended, voiced strong opposition to Frelinghuysen's track record under the Trump Administration.

Frelinghuysen, of Harding Township, chairs the House Ways and Means Committee. He voted for the federal budget that would eliminate the federal deduction for state and local taxes; he voted in May to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act; and he voted to withhold federal family-planning funds from health centers that provide abortions – all points with which the candidates at the forum took issue.

Frelinghuysen represents a predominantly Republican district anchored by Morris County and including parts of Passaic, Essex and Sussex counties. But the district has been eyed by political analysts as one of the few Republican strongholds in the state that might be vulnerable in the 2018 elections to Democratic takeover. …

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