Eck Preparing To Challenge Holt In CD 12


Dr. Alieta Eck

Dr. Alieta Eck

Dr. Alieta Eck is laying the groundwork to run against 12 District Congressman Rush Holt.  She expects to make a formal announcement of her candidacy after the first of the year.  She was a candidate in the Special Senate Primary to replace the late Senator Frank Lautenberg this summer, losing to former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan.  Lonegan went on to lose to then Newark Mayor Cory Booker by 11%.

Eck told MMM this afternoon that she is setting up meetings with the Republican County Chairs of the distirct (Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset and Union) and the National Republian Congressional Committee. She hopes to avoid having to defend her nominating petitions come April.  She also hopes to be unopposed for the GOP nomination.  Eck said she is being advised by GOP consultant David Millner and former Congressman Mike Pappas.  Holt unseated Pappas in 1998.

[Aside: NRCC is selling Bush/Cheney 00 tee shirts for $25 if you’re looking for stocking stuffers] (sarcasm off)

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Posted: December 10th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2014 Congressional Races, Alieta Eck, Rush Holt | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Does Congressional Seniority Matter? Should It Trump Competitiveness?

In a piece published at Politickernj and on his Real Numbers blog, Monmouth University Polling Director Patrick Murray argues that district competitiveness should be less of a consideration in drawing the new congressional map than he argued it should have been in the state legislative map.

Murray says that no other state uses competitiveness as a criteria for drawing their maps and that New Jersey would be at a disadvantage if it did so.

“If you were expecting me to argue the same for the Congressional redistricting process, though, you would be wrong.  The influence of any state’s delegation is based largely on their influence with the upper echelons of Congressional leadership.  Absolute seniority in itself is not important, but some degree of longevity is necessary for members of our delegation to establish those important relationships.

Since few other states use competitiveness to guide their redistricting process, New Jersey would be put at a disadvantage if it did.  Even if it made a concerted effort, our commission could probably only create 3 to 5 truly competitive districts – out of 435 nationwide.  While that might boost voter turnout in those districts, it would do little to increase the influence of New Jersey as a whole. Influence that we sorely need, considering how little we get back in federal spending for every tax dollar we send to Washington.”

While this argument is consistent with conventional thinking about congress, I’m not sure that it matches up with the current reality in Washington. 

It certainly does not match up with the current reality of the New Jersey congressional delegation, by Murray’s own words in the last sentence.  If we are getting so little back from Washington with our current delegation, most of whom have significant longevity, what good is their seniority doing us?  Would be do much worse, or any worse, with a bunch of freshmen?

In the current congress, the freshmen are running the show, much to the chagrin of the left wing media, the White House and everyone else who thinks congressmen should go to Washington to compromise rather than to do what they promised their constituents they would do during the campaigns.

New Jersey congressmen have an inauspicious history of leadership and influence.  Donald Payne and Frank Pallone are the most senior Democrats in the New Jersey delegation.  Neither have ever been leaders of note in Washington. Neither has an impressive record of getting legislation passed.

Republican Chris Smith is the longest serving member of the New Jersey delegation.  No one can deny that Smith is a leader.  He has had more legislation passed that any other member of congress.  His influence as a human rights advocate and champion of the unborn is global.  However, he is not a congressional leader.  Even with his 30 years on the hill and Republicans back in power, he is not a committee chairman or even a sub-committee chairman.

Robert Menendez has been an exception to New Jersey’s lack of congressional leadership.  He catapulted over Pallone, Payne and many other Democrats throughout the country in establishing himself as a congressional leader, eventually becoming the third highest ranking Democrat in congress before moving up to the Senate.

Worse for New Jersey residents than the lack of influence in congress that our representatives have, is some members’ lack of concern for the will of their constituents.  As Murray said during his appearance on the Real Jersey Guys Radio show on August 2, New Jersey members of congress vote however they want, regardless of how constituents feel about an issue, because gerrymandering has made their jobs so safe.

This is clearly the case in Monmouth County, the majority of which is divided between Frank Pallone’s 6th district and Rush Holt’s 12th.  Murray accurately portrays the 6th and 12th as among the most gerrymandered districts.  As a result of how these districts have been drawn in the past, much of Monmouth County is essentially disenfranchised from congressional representation.  One could easily make an argument that the suburban areas of Pallone and Holt’s districts do not have a congressman, while the urban areas have two.

Murray and I agree that congressmen need incentive to serve and represent their constituents.  There is no incentive like competition.   The congressional redistricting commission should make competiveness a prime consideration in drawing the new map.  Without competition, seniority is not all that is cracked up to be, as New Jersey’s congressional delegation has clearly demonstrated.

Posted: September 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Congressional Redistricting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Rush Holt Laments Debt Reduction

By Art Gallagher

Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) sent the following message in an email to his constituents this afternoon:

Right now, the United States can borrow money essentially for free.  In fact, 10-year Treasury bonds have a negative real yield.  That is, investors are lending the government money with a guarantee that, in a decade, the US will pay them back less in real dollars.  It seems that they are confident that the US is sound over the long term and that the much-decried debt is not the show-stopper some would have us believe.
Meanwhile, the US has tens of thousands of needed projects that would create jobs and produce a clear, positive return to taxpayers.  We need to repair crumbling roads and bridges and schools.  We need to modernize old buildings that are wasting taxpayer money on electricity, heating, and air conditioning.  It is not all construction projects, either.  We need to support private companies engaged in research and development.  More than anything we need economic growth now that will create jobs now. 
Yet last week with the debt ceiling deal Congress took the U.S. government out of the picture, saying in effect that the government will play no direct role in stimulating the economy or making jobs.  Not only does it prevent Congress from making these sure-thing investments, but it requires government to cut public services and eliminate jobs, and also to throw many states into destitution.
As the public and policymakers come to recognize the deal’s devastating effects on our economy and our people, I hope we will begin to work around its restraints.  Yet until that happens, we must do everything possible to create jobs in ways that do not require federal spending.
The Senate, for instance, can pass patent-reform legislation that the House passed earlier this year to encourage inventors to create new products.  The president has proposed an idea to restore health to the housing market by encouraging investors to turn foreclosed homes into rental properties.  Congress could also establish an infrastructure bank that would offer low-interest loans to cities and states to invest in public works (but that would take start-up funds).
Let me be clear:  measures like these are somewhat indirect and will not be as effective as direct job creation, yet they can be beneficial, and for as long as Congress maintains its self-imposed shackles, they may be the best we can do.

Hmmm, I’m not a rocket scientist, but it seems to me that a negative real yield to investors who buy our debt is not a good thing, for several reasons:

1) It is a sign that investors are not confident enough in the economy to make private sector investments.  Investors are essentially betting that they will lose less by investing in Treasuries that they will if they buy private equity, private debt or commodities.

2) Other than Treasuries, the other “safe” investment over the last few years has been gold. Investors may be realizing that gold is overvauled.  Now that gold is being advertised on cable-TV like buying real estate with no money down used to be advertised, it is a good bet that the burst of the gold bubble is in sight.  When the market wakes up to the fact that the value of gold as a holder of value is perceived and not based upon the demand for the uses of gold, there will be weeping and nashing of teeth.  Investors buying Treasuries at a negative yield now are betting that gold is no longer safe.  Good bet.

3) The negative yield that Holt talks about is a lot more negative than he thinks.  When inflation inevitably kicks in due to all the money that the government has borrowed and spent, and all the money that the Federal Reserve continues to print, the dollar that pays off those 10 year Treasuries in 2021 is going to be worth a great deal less that the dollar borrowed and spent today.

We’re in for a very very long haul of difficult economic times.   Rush Holt doesn’t get that.

Posted: August 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Rush Holt | Tags: , | 3 Comments »