TEA Party conservative Steve Lonegan is fighting RINO unknown Tom MacArthur for the soul of the GOP in New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district.
Liberal Republican Mayor Tom MacArthur of Randolph has a lot of money but not a lot of support. And so, like any former insurance company CEO with ties to AIG, he's trying to buy it by bribing the local GOP county clubs in New Jersey's third congressional district.
MacArthur gave over $25,000 to the Ocean GOP County to buy the powerful organization's endorsement which promptly endorsed him. This was something of a foregone conclusion. MacArthur's consultant, Chris Russell, lists Burlington County GOP, Ocean County GOP, and the National Republican Congressional Committee on his client list. On Wednesday the NRCC endorsed Tom MacArthur has part of its “Young Guns” program.
But MacArthur appears not to have been vetted by the NRCC given his tax and spend politics. The purpose of these endorsements is to try to force conservative Steve Lonegan out of the race and to create the impression that there’s a groundswell of support behind MacArthur. In other words, GOP establishment suits and not third congressional district primary voters are picking the candidate.
Not that it has done him much good. MacArthur’s campaign has thus far been a farce. He complimented the Ocean County County party leadership, “for running a fair and open process that I think brought out the best of all of us” after being endorsed by the club to which he had donated.
In a speech where he promised to help turn around this “company,” MacArthur also promised that he would stop taxes from rising. It’s a familiar lie. Running for city council in Randolph, NJ in 2010, MacArthur’s "number one priority" on was to "control property taxes" but he increased them repeatedly when he was mayor—over 10% in just three years.
MacArthur had campaigned as a “strong conservative,” like his mailers advertise, but he governed as a liberal. “I’ve been walking the town and talking with our residents and controlling taxes is the number one issue I hear about,” he told the New Jersey Hills on May 28, 2010. Al Napoliello, who ran with MacArthur, promised to “do [his] very best to hold the line on property taxes.” MacArthur promised again, in October 2010, to "control our taxes by all means necessary."
But in April 2013, the city council of Randolph, NJ under Tom MacArthur raised taxes 3.69% in one year, despite noting that the town’s ratable base actually contracted in size. This was on top of a previous 4.32% contentious tax increase in 2010.
So why is MacArthur even running?
Probably for the same reason he ran in 2010—to keep a conservative out of the race and because his friends flattered his ego. Indeed, Tom MacArthur ran on a slate to force a fiscally conservative city councilwoman out of office in 2010.
[MacArthur] said, specifically, that he was asked to run “because of Mrs. Price.”
“I think the town deserves better. If I thought Arlene was doing a terrific job, I would have said no. Half of the time she’s been absent.” (P.C. Robinson and Neil Paley, “Local taxes, bond rating key primary issues in Randolph Township,” New Jersey Hills, May 28, 2010).
In fact, Price was absent only twice—once to put rest to her late father’s estate and once because she was in the hospital from a near fatal scuba accident. The real reason MacArthur ran was because Price was a conservative on spending and tax matters.
Here she is describing her pro-taxpayer positions.
This primary election is truly a David and Goliath battle because I’m running on my own against an entire political party machine that is fielding a slate of four candidates against me.
On Christmas Eve of last year, I received the news from the local political bosses that they were going to throw me off the ticket and take me out as a Councilwoman. These bosses did not even bother to consult with the elected members of the Randolph Republican County Committee before making this decision on their own.
My opponents – candidates handpicked by the party bosses in town – are not telling the truth about my attendance record as a Councilwoman.
The plain fact is that I’ve attended nearly 80 percent of council meetings during my time in office, according to meeting minutes, and my attendance record is 100 percent for this year.
Two unavoidable incidents that did cause me to miss several Council meetings were the death of my father and the need to settle his affairs in Kansas City, Missouri, and a near drowning that I had while scuba diving that put me in an ICU in a hospital in Pennsylvania.
The ridiculous attendance numbers thrown around by my opponents in articles published in this paper are just shameless distortions meant to mislead voters during political silly season.
So what are the real reasons the political bosses are trying to take me out as a Councilwoman?
“I had the audacity to stand up to them. I dared to put the interests of Randolph taxpayers before their interests. I spoke my mind and voted my conscience on issues before the Council,” Price wrote.
These are apparently unforgivable sins for the bosses who now run the local GOP. To me, it’s fulfilling my duties as a Councilwoman to represent the people of our town, not them. I’ve stood up for our taxpayers and I was the only one to vote against two of their tax-hiking budgets because they spent too much and taxed too much.
MacArthur is running against Steve Lonegan. Lonegan won the third congressional district when he ran for U.S. Senate against Cory Booker. Even though Lonegan lost to Booker in the special election in October, Lonegan won a higher percentage of the vote for U.S. Senate than any Republican in New Jersey has gotten in a dozen years—and he ran as a conservative. “Lonegan lost,” noted columnist John Fund, “but his principled campaign showed the strength of conservative activists in a state that hasn’t voted Republican for president in a quarter-century.” Unsurprisingly Lonegan is defeating MacArthur handily in at least one poll because he has a record.
Neither Lonegan, nor MacArthur are from the third congressional district, but Lonegan has actually moved into it. MacArthur's family members continue to list Randolph, NJ as their home and have bought a condo. In order to run for the vacant seat, MacArthur has to establish residency in Ocean County, NJ. Property records show that he owns a large property in Ocean County. There are several media reports where MacArthur states that they intend to make Ocean County their permanent home.
However, the MacArthurs still own their family home in Randolph. In addition, they are heavily involved with a pro-amnesty Bethlehem church in Randolph where Macarthur has served on leadership boards. Currently, the Facebook page for his teenage, Isabella, states that she is still a student at Randolph High School and his wife, Deborah, also has Randolph listed as her current city of residence on her Facebook page. Nexis lists both Tom and Deborah MacArthur as still registered to vote in Morris County, Randolph, NJ.