Challenger Attacks LoBiondo on Closing of South Jersey Progresso Soup Plant

Republican U.S. Representative Frank LoBiondo is facing more attacks from a Democratic newcomer.

Republican U.S. Representative Frank LoBiondo is facing more attacks from a Democratic newcomer.

Following Monday’s news that the Progresso soup plant in Vineland, NJ will be closing down and costing the area 370 jobs, a Democratic challenger to U.S. Representative Frank LoBiondo is attacking the longtime incumbent for campaign contributions from General Mills, Progresso’s parent company.

Dave Cole is running against LoBiondo in New Jersey’s second congressional district, which encompasses Vineland. He described the Republican incumbent’s campaign as “funded by a South-Jersey-job-killing company” in a statement, citing ELEC records showing $3,500 in campaign contributions from General Mills to LoBiondo’s reelection campaign.

“Frank LoBiondo has taken thousands of dollars in campaign donations from General Mills’s corporate PAC, including $3,500 in the past year alone,” Cole wrote.

“How can we trust Frank LoBiondo to represent our workers when his campaign is funded by a South-Jersey-job-killing company like General Mills? This, after his campaign has taken thousands of dollars from Donald Trump around the time when Donald Trump wasn’t paying his contractors during his casino bankruptcies.”

Cole’s campaign has consistently underscored Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s roughly $8,000 in contributions to LoBiondo during the congressman’s 21-year tenure. LoBiondo, in turn, has pointed to Trump’s consistent support for Democratic candidates including Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during her campaign for U.S. Senate.

Asked about the contributions from General Mills, a representative with the LoBiondo campaign said by email that LoBiondo “is concerned with the people and community affected by today’s news, not politics.”

LoBiondo took to Facebook Monday afternoon, where he placed the blame for the Progresso factory closure with the company.

“Today’s news makes me so angry about how General Mills handled this and the loss it is to Cumberland County and the South Jersey area,” he wrote.

“If Progresso’s corporate leaders had acted in good faith and gave the union, the city and the state – everyone that had an interest in this on a number of levels – the opportunity to create a competitive counteroffer, then something could have been done to save the plant & the jobs of those dedicated workers.”

Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.