CD3: Andy Kim versus David Richter
If you sawed the district in half, you’d have Ocean and Burlington counties, the first a Republican bastion buoyed by American Flag on the front lawns beach towns, and the second an inland Pineland suburban checkerboard where the sandy ground gets harder, which turned blue in the Trump era.
Here’s the breakdown:
Ocean: 55,806 Democrats and 81,440 Republicans.
Burlington: 119,641 Democrats and 77,495 Republicans.
A profusion of independents lean “R” in Ocean and lean “D” in Burlington.
Without oversimplifying the district, the battleground invariably turns into Burlington versus Ocean, with Democrats trying for big numbers in the former, and the GOP relying on GOP turnout in the latter.
Having secured the seat in a nail-biter in 2018, incumbent U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3) this year faces Republican businessman David Richter. Check out the primary results recorded by the two candidates, which affirm the Ocean v. Burlington dynamics here:
Of the 79,423 votes Kim recieved, he harvested 56,467 in Burlington and 22,956 in Ocean; while Richter won 23,328 votes of his 35,824 in Ocean and 12,496 in Burlington.
Earlier today, InsiderNJ checked in with two sources, one Democrat and one Republican, on the status of the contest.
“He’s mostly prioritizing Ocean,” said one of the sources, in reference to Richter. “He’s using Burlington County’s apparatus and infrastructure. He’s basically using all of Katie Gibbs’ people in Burlington County.”
Gibbs was Richter’s primary opponent.
The second source opined that Richter appears to have put his election eggs in the Ocean basket.
In BurlCo, the Moorsetown local race is a toss-up. Mount Laurel and Evesham local races lean Dem, as does Lumberton.
Kim has his struggles in the county where he should be strong, the source said.
“I think contactless canvassing was a big mistake,” the source said. “Even a bunch of his supporters on the CD3 FB page were very vocal about it. Not working the streets. Not engaging voters.”
Still, overall, the race – which he leads early according to early VBM tallies – is Kim’s to lose, said the source – a Democrat, as the incumbent emphasizes a record that includes his work to deliver PPE to disabled individuals in Ocean Ocean, the subject of Kim’s third television ad.
The second source, a Republican, likewise sees a close race, but with diffferent results. “It’s neck and neck right now,” said the source. “It really is a situation of who turns out their base. If Richter can get them out in Ocean in the numbers that he needs to overtake Burlington county numbers then he wins. If Kim gets a vote in his backyard in the numbers that he needs, like the last time around, to overtake Ocean, then he wins. It genuinely it’s a situation of who can turn off the vote in their backyard.
“But right now, I would give the edge to Richter because we’ve seen what can happen when Ocean comes out to vote and he’s working hard out there.”
The Cook Report chalks this contest up to “Leans Democrat.” The primary numbers bear that out. Richer’s opponent Gibbs’ June 7th total on top of his own (58,592) leaves the Republican nearly 21,000 votes short of Kim.
Positioned in the district by the same Christie-Trump operation that shepherded Jeff Van Drew to the Republican Party, Richter (who lives outside the district in Lawrenceville, but hails from Willingboro originally) has glued himself to incumbent Republican President Donald J. Trump, which could hurt him in the end. “What makes us all most proud is one man: Donald Trump,” Richter told Republicans ealier this year at a rally with Trump in Wildwood. “Our great president,” he added. It’s risky, particulalry in these rocky last weeks of the contest. Remember, Assemblyman Ryan Peters and Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield won in Burlington in last year with some obvious distance between themselves and the Republican president. Rising Republican star Peters, in fact, refused to sign onto a “Trump Pledge.” And while Burlington’s Democrats and Ocean’s Republicans turn out in greater numbers in presidential yars, Trump’s volatility, especially late in the game as he unravels publicly, may inspire more independents to break for Kim.
“I wouldn’t say any one person’s messaging is better,” the GOP source told InsiderNJ. “Their messaging is appropriate for their base. It doesn’t seem to me like anyone is really trying to reach the middle.
“As far as VBM, they are both aware that that’s the game that they have to play and they really have to turn out that vote so it seems that they both are doing it. Therefore I don’t think that VBM will affect it dramatically. But. And huge BUT… Trump has been inconsistent on preserving pre-existing conditions.”