HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — Cassandra Shober formally kicked off her congressional campaign Friday evening, telling about 80 people at Mays Landing’s Lake Lenape Park: “I am running for congress because people deserve a representative who will put them first.”
Shober is the Democrats’ nominee for the 2nd Congressional District, a sprawling area that includes eight counties and most of the southern-third of the state. It is Shober’s first bid for office.
She started her speech talking about a visit to Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center, calling it “humbling and awe-inspiring” and somewhere that everyone running for office should visit.
She then spent much of the 18-minute speech attacking the incumbent, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, whom she said plays party politics and “flies under the radar and hopes no one notices.”
She criticized him for voting against federal stimulus legislation, for the federal budget proposal offered by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and against the Affordable Care Act which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday. She garnered boos from the mix of Democrats who attended the event as she mentioned the congressman.
“We need to take the seat back to the people where it belongs,” Shober said.
In June, Shober won the Democratic nomination in the primary election in which she defeated candidates Viola Hughes and Gary Stein. Both previously won the Democrats’ nomination but lost by double-digit margins to LoBiondo.
LoBiondo is a nine-term incumbent who has made a name for himself as a moderate on issues such as the environment, while taking more conservative stances on others.
He is a member of the center-right Republican Main Street Partnership, which describes itself as “main stream fiscally conservative elected officials.” In Congress, he sits on the Armed Services and Transportation and Infrastructure committee and chairs the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.
He has voted with the Republican Party on the issues of gun rights and limiting stem cell research and supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While he supported the federal cap-and-trade plan for carbon emissions, he has since said he would not vote that way.
The congressman also has touted his record of bringing job opportunities to the region. He has long supported the NextGen Aviation Research and Technology Park, at the Federal Aviation Administration’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Galloway Township. He also helped to bring the Boeing Chinook Helicopter Modification Facility to the Millville airport, speaking recently at the event that celebrated the 100th helicopter to come off the line there.
Beyond Shober and LoBiondo, several other minor candidates also are in the race, including Charles Lukens, of Ventnor; Frank Faralli Jr., of Cape May Courthouse; David W. Bowen Sr., of Pittsgrove, Salem County; and John Ordille, of Northfield.
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