ABSECON - A city Board of Education member has set his eyes on a congressional seat.
Michael Assad said in an announcement that he is running for the Republican nomination in New Jersey's 2nd Congressional District because the current incumbent, U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, "has supported legislation that would kill jobs and continuously refuses to support measures that would create jobs."
Assad is the first person in the current cycle to announce his candidacy against LoBiondo, a nine-term incumbent. While he stressed he was an independent thinker, Assad said "I think I'm on the same page as the Tea Party."
Assad cited LoBiondo's support for legislation to create a trading market in greenhouse gases, commonly known as cap and trade, as well as the Employee Free Choice Act, also known as Card Check, which would require an employer officially recognize a union if more than 50 percent of its employees signed cards in favor of a union.
LoBiondo was one of just eight house Republicans to vote for cap and trade, and one of only two Republicans to co-sponsor the Card Check legislation.
Assad also indicated that if elected he would leave office after six terms, a campaign promise LoBiondo made but later backed away from.
"I don't see where his seniority helps the district, other than giving him an excuse to stay," Assad said.
The U.S. Constitution requires members of the House of Representatives be at least 25 years old. With a July 4 birthday, Assad would be 24 at the time of state's June primary but 25 by the time of the general election and when the next session begins in 2013.
Assad has been an Absecon school board member since 2006. He is a senior majoring in political science at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, as well as an Apple store genius-bar administrator.
When he won his school board seat at age 18, he became the youngest elected official in the state. He also briefly was a candidate for county freeholder the following year.
LoBiondo, 65, of Ventnor, was first elected to the Congress in 1994 with 65 percent of the vote, and in his eight subsequent re-elections received at least 60 percent of the vote.
In 2010, Democratic Party leaders failed to even mount a challenge, leaving Gary Stein, the owner and operator of a small Egg Harbor City office-cleaning firm, to take on LoBiondo. Without significant party backing, Stein ran a largely self-financed campaign and received 51,690 votes to LoBiondo's 109,460.
In his most recent financial filing, LoBiondo reported $687,022 in his campaign fund at the end of September.
The sprawling 2nd District includes all of Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties, as well as portions of Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.
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