New Jersey’s Third Congressional District – Toss Up


The 3rd Congressional district in New Jersey is one of the nation’s most contentious races. Winning it is a top priority for House Democrats. According to, it is officially a “toss-up” with the Democratic candidate having a 56.5 percent chance of winning.

Incumbent Congressman Tom MacArthur (R) is defending his seat against Andy Kim, a Korean American who worked in the Obama Administration as a National Security aide. He was also a Rhodes scholar who studied at Oxford University.

MacArthur led the fight to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by negotiating with the extremely conservative House Freedom Caucus to win support for the bill.

The Congressional Budget Office said that the bill would have left 24 million Americans uninsured and led to a 94 percent increase in the amount of uninsured in MacArthur’s district. It made him the only Republican in the New Jersey delegation to support the bill.

He was rewarded for his effort in leading the appeal though. President Trump held a fundraiser for him at his golf course in Bedminister, New Jersey where he raised over $800,00 for MacArthur’s campaign.

The sheer amount made the race difficult for a Democrat to challenge him and cleared primary for Kim.

What makes the races especially difficult is that MacArthur is a multi-millionaire who poured $5 million of his own fortune into his first race for Congress and has the ability to do so again. He made his fortune as the chairman and CEO of a Parsippany-based insurance company.

Furthermore, the fact that he sits on the Financial Services Committee which oversees financial institutions subsequently makes such Institutions very generous to the campaigns of committee members.

However, as of October 17th when the last filing reports prior to Election Day were due, fundraising has been very competitive as Kim has raised slightly less than $1 million more than MacArthur.

MacArthur was initially viewed as a moderate since he voted against the budget bill under which the ACA repeal effort proceeded. He previously had been the Co-Chair of a group of moderate House Republicans known as the Tuesday Group. However, fury over his negotiations with the Freedom Caucus led to his resignation as Co-Chair.

MacArthur continued taking conservative positions by voting for the Republican tax plan which gave generous tax cuts to the wealthy and eliminated the ability to deduct the amount an individual pays in property taxes from their federal income taxes.

While that was extremely unpopular in New Jersey where property taxes are high, MacArthur has vigorously defended the bill, claiming that, “It’s creating terrific growth and lower unemployment.”

The 3rd Congressional district was won by Democrat John Adler in 2008. He subsequently lost the seat in 2010 to former Eagles player Jon Runyan. It was then redrawn to exclude many of the towns that had previously made it competitive. In 2014, MacArthur won the open seat by 10 points. In 2016, his opponent ran a campaign only memorable for the fact that it only raised $600.

The district contains two counties that run across the state’s width in 54 municipalities.

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