Obama Endorses Democratic Challenger to LoBiondo

Longtime congressman’s Democratic challenger Dave Cole outside the shuttered Trump Plaza in October.

Longtime congressman’s Democratic challenger Dave Cole outside the shuttered Trump Plaza in October. JT Aregood for Observer

The longshot Democratic challenger to longtime New Jersey congressman Frank LoBiondo netted his biggest endorsement to date Friday, with President Barack Obama coming out for Dave Cole’s campaign for congress. Cole has waged a well-run but underfunded campaign against the nearly 20-year incumbent, whose district encompasses Atlantic City.

Obama called Cole a worthy choice for advancing the Democratic platform in the conservative second congressional district, which leans Republican apart from the one-time gaming capital of the east coast.

“I’m proud to endorse Dave Cole for the United States House of Representatives,” Obama wrote in a statement. “In Congress, Dave will be the kind of leader we need to create a stronger, safer, fairer country for working families. Dave is a fighter for New Jersey’s working families, and will work to level the playing field so that everyone has a shot at the American dream. In Congress, I know that Dave will stand up and fight to protect Social Security and Medicare, protect a woman’s right to choose, and end the crushing burden of student loan debt. All New Jersey families can count on Dave to stand up for them, too.”

“I am beyond honored to have the endorsement of Barack Obama,” Cole said in response. “In Congress I will take on the tough fights just as I’ve done while growing a successful small business during the recession. As your Representative, I’ll stand up for South Jersey families to make college more affordable, protect Social Security and Medicare, and keep good-paying jobs here in the 2nd District.”

Cole’s campaign has consistently targeted LoBiondo for accepting donations from Trump during his Atlantic City casino empire’s 1990s heyday, offering up at one point a memo from a Trump casino executive strongly encouraging colleagues to donate to the congressman’s reelection campaign in violation of state campaign finance laws. LoBiondo, for his part, has pointed to Trump’s frequent support of Democratic as well as Republican candidates and distanced himself from his party’s nominee following the publication of audio where Trump boasted of assaulting women.

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