Race for New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District tightens

« We anticipate having a challenger and having that challenger make the same assertions that they do each time, » the six term legislator said. « And that’s been born out in this case as well where they say the congressman doesn’t fit the district. »

The race for New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District has tightened in recent weeks as the young Democrat tries to prevent Garrett from a seventh term in Congress.

In 2010, Garrett easily outpaced Democrat Tod Theise, capturing nearly 65 percent of the vote in a district that included all of Warren County. When the 5th Congressional was redrawn in 2011, a large swath of Warren was cut away and Bergen County now makes up about 70 percent of the district.

In 2012, Democrat Adam Gussen mounted a more competitive race, falling to Garrett with 43 percent of the vote compared to the incumbent’s 55 percent. wholesale nfl jerseys A recent Monmouth University poll found Garrett leading Cho by only 5 percentage points, 48 to 43, with 6 percent of those polled saying they were undecided.

Garrett dismisses the notion that redistricting alters the race. He sees jobs and health care as primary issues with residents in Warren, Bergen, Sussex and Passaic counties.

« People are naturally concerned about their families, their jobs, their health and that’s the same whether you live in Hackensack or Hackettstown, » he said.

And Cho couldn’t agree more. But he argues the district is leaning more toward the middle, having elected moderate Republican Rep. Marge Roukema, who bested Garrett in 1998 and 2000 before retiring, for 22 years. This is a district that believes, for instance, the public sector works best when it partners with the private sector, he said.

« Many in the district believe in governing from the middle, » Cho said.

Much like the race in the 7th Congressional that pits incumbent Republican Rep. Lance Leonard against Democrat Janice Kovach, Cho and Garrett stand on opposite sides of the Affordable Care Act. « So how can we fix it and make it better? Trying to repeal it is a waste of time. »

Lawmakers should be talking about allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies on costs, Cho said. And the discussion should be linked with campaign finance reform because too many lawmakers are beholden to industries like the pharmaceutical industry through contributions, he said.

Tweaks could be made to the law in regards to small businesses and the 50 employee threshold, for instance, by requiring a business to cover only a portion of the health care costs for that 51st employee to avoid any tinkering with employee numbers, Cho said.

Garrett is blunt in his assessment of the Affordable Care Act.

« We should repeal it and replace it with something that actually works, » he said.

The law hasn’t provided more people with health insurance, only placed more people on Medicaid, Garrett said. One concern about the law and health care costs is the high cost of pharmaceuticals, which points to a problem with the Food and Drug Administration, he said.

Lawmakers need to assure the public has safe drugs, but a lengthy approval process is driving up costs, Garrett said. Noting Republicans have proposed alternatives, he supports ideas like tort reform, allowing people to purchase policies across state lines and health savings accounts.

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