The message from a major Republican player is simple: if Frank LoBiondo doesn’t step up and make sure his two close friends, State Senators Nicholas Asselta and James “Sonny” McCullough, have enough money to hold their seats in November, then LoBiondo shouldn’t count on huge party support when redistricting time comes – just four years from now.
More importantly for LoBiondo is the threat of his own second district congressional seat in 2008 or 2010 if Asselta and/or McCullough lose. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already begun to show interest in taking on LoBiondo, and the two Democratic Senate candidates running this year – Jefferson Van Drew and James Whelan – would be formidable rivals to LoBiondo in the next election. Van Drew went to Washington earlier this year to meet with the DCCC about taking on LoBiondo in a district that is trending Democratic.
Internal polls in both districts show the Democratic challengers with a lead against the GOP incumbents.
Remember this: there is a decent chance that New Jersey will lose a congressional seat after the 2010 census. If that happens, you can count on the seat that goes being a Republican one.
Some Republicans have been complaining that the state’s GOP Congressmen have not been doing enough to help legislative candidates – something that was reportedly promised when both parties agreed upon an incumbent-friendly map after the 2000 Census that was supposed to provide a decade of job security for the Members of Congress from New Jersey.
Asselta is one of LoBiondo’s tightest political allies and close personal friends. They both come from Vineland, and after LoBiondo won an open House seat in 1994, he pushed Republicans to pick Asselta for LoBiondo’s Assembly seat.
Last February, LoBiondo spent considerable political capital to help McCullough, the Mayor of Egg Harbor City, upset seven-term GOP Assemblyman Francis Blee in a Special Election Convention to replace Bill Gormley in the Senate. Now Blee is backing Whelan, and Gormley has walked away.
With the eighth legislative district facing some Democratic competition this year, LoBiondo could wake up on November 7 to find that the only Republican legislators representing towns in his Republican-leaning congressional districts are the ones that represent Folsom and Hammonton in the ninth.