The news today that Ashley Evans, 7, and her sister Sophia, 3, have been reunited with their father after being stuck in the Republic of Georgia after the Russian Army invasion two weeks ago essentially ends the campaign of Josh Zeitz, a college professor on an already long shot bid to oust fourteen-term Congressman Christopher Smith. Smith traveled to Georgia last week to meet with officials and has remained there to help facilitate the safety of the two girls, who live in Howell Township in the fourth district. Operatives from both parties say that Smith will have no trouble getting re-elected now, although some say he had no problems before the successful rescue mission.
Smith has been criticized in the past for infrequent trips home to the district, his Virginia residency, and his international travel as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. But successes like this one make it exponentially more difficult to make the case to voters that Smith is less effective because he’s not in New Jersey.