Ferguson rushes to his own defense

FLEMINGTON- After hearing one of his would-be successors refer dismally to his recent re-election struggles, retiring U.S. Rep. Mike Ferguson of the 7th district went to the microphone to offer a good-natured rebuttal.

"When I saw Mike Ferguson going down steadily," Dr. A.D. Amar, a professor of business management at Seton Hall University and low or no-hoper in this GOP primary race, said in his remarks, he felt compelled to get more involved in politics.

"He won with only 3,000 votes," Amar reminded the crowd in Plaza One in Flemington, and there was an uneasy murmuring as people glanced nervously at Ferguson, who stood smiling amid a cluster of other ruffled Republicans.

"Democrats are making huge inroads into the district," said Amar, standing under a portrait of President George W. Bush.

"I am glad George Bush has done such a nice job keeping terrorists out of our country," the candidate said.

Moments later, Ferguson was at the front of the room.

"First of all," the congressman said with a laugh, "my wife is the only one who’s allowed to tell me I’m going downhill."

Then he turned his attention to the Democrats.

"Whoever we nominate for the U.S. Senate is going to be better than Frank Lautenberg ever could be," said Ferguson. "Whoever we nominate in the 7th district is going to be better than Linda Stender ever could be."

Former 12th district U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer also addressed the Hunterdon County Republicans and congressional hopefuls on Monday night.

Ferguson rushes to his own defense