he New Jobs PAC announced its endorsements for the upcoming legislative elections late Tuesday, lending its support to a bipartisan mix of 92 candidates for office.
The PAC, which is affilated with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and other pro-business groups, is hoping to become the voice of the business community and stand toe to toe with organized labor PACS that have grown in influence in past years.
Among the recipients of the pro-business PAC’s endorsement are 38 Democrats and 54 Republicans. Of the 92 endorsements, 80 were for incumbents.
PAC Executive Director David Brogan said the endorsements do not depend on party but rather on a candidate’s commitment to business expansion in the state.
“In these difficult economic times, it has never been more important to elect and retain pro-business candidates and legislators who understand the needs of business,” Brogan said. “Our endorsements are not based on party affiliation, but rather, the willingness of each candidate to lower the cost of doing business, strengthen the business climate, and create jobs in our great state.”
Brogan said the endorsements were based on objective criteria such as a candidate’s voting record on certain bills affecting the business community – including the recent pension and health benefits reforms, which were strongly supported by the state’s businesses and the millionaire’s tax, which is not.
Candidates were also judged on subjective criteria such as their willingness to work with the business community. Candidates with no voting record were invited for interviews.
While the mix of candidates is bipartisan, the PAC took a decidedly rightward tilt in the races most political watchers have deemed competitive.
In the 2nd District, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Jim Whelan is locked in a battle with Republican Assemblyman Vince Polistina for control of that seat in the upper chamber, the New Jobs PAC endorsed Polistina and Republican running-mates John Amodeo and Christopher Brown.
In the 14th District, where incumbent Democrat Linda Greenstein is facing Republican Richard Kanka for the Senate seat Greenstein won last year in a special election, Kanka got the nod from the PAC along with Republican Assembly candidate Wayne Wittman. Democratic incumbent Assemblyman Dan Benson also received an endorsement from the PAC over newly named Republican candidate Sheree McGowan.
In District 38, where Democrat Bob Gordon’s seat is said to be in play, the PAC endorsed Republican John Driscoll and running-mates Fernando Alonzo and Richard Goldberg.
Brogan said though the PAC has been around for more than 50 years, he is taking a far more active role in the legislative races than in years past. The goal he said, is to compete with organized labor and other PACs.
“The unions have PACs and they are supporting candidates who support their interests,” he said. “What we are striving for is for New Jobs PAC to be the voice of the business community.”
Brogan said the PAC endorsement will also include monetary support ranging from donations of $1,000 to $8,200.
Click here for a list of all endorsements by the PAC.