New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district has long been home to close competition between Republican and Democratic candidates. Two counties make up NJ-3: Burlington and Ocean. In 2016, the two large NJ counties voted oppositely. Burlington County voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, while Donald Trump won Ocean County by a landslide.
According to the New Jersey Globe, “The 3rd district is one of the most politically competitive in the state, with 10,565 more Democrats than Republicans. President Donald Trump won the district by six points, 51%-45%, in 2016.”
From 2015 to 2019, the district’s representative was Republican, Tom MacArthur. In the heated 2018 midterms, with historically high voter turnout, he lost his seat to Andy Kim, the Democratic candidate and former Obama United States National Security Council Official, by 1.1%.
Former Burlington County Freeholder and Republican, Kate Gibbs filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in November. In a video on her website, Gibbs introduces herself and shares that she comes from a large Italian family who immigrated to New Jersey “the right way” to seek out “the American Dream.” She further shares that she is a first-generation college graduate, and one of the youngest women ever elected to county-wide office in New Jersey.
According to her website, Gibbs “serves in a leadership role for one of the state’s most prominent trade labor unions.” InsiderNJ reports that she is the “Deputy Director for the Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative (ELEC 825), a collaborative trust focused on creating work opportunities for the members and signatory contractors of Local 825 Operating Engineers.”
In a quote from her press release, Gibbs said: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s brand of politics doesn’t represent me or everyone in my generation.” She says she wants to bring a “common sense, pragmatic approach to Washington, and be a leader in Congress who isn’t anyone’s rubber stamp.”
One of Gibbs’s major selling points is her history of successfully helping lower property taxes. She also confidently shares her past of improving school security, something important to Americans and New Jerseyans alike during this epidemic of school shootings.
Gibbs claims, “I can do it because I’ve done it. How many elected officials have cut taxes every year while creating innovative programs?”
As Burlington County Freeholder, she was responsible for two large initiatives. One of these was a grant program for security improvements at public high schools. The other used county funds to plan infrastructure improvements to relieve traffic on county highways and Route 130.
Gibbs’s initiatives have been kept in place by the now Democratic-controlled board.
Also during her time in office, Burlington County continued its streak of having the lowest per capita spending in New Jersey.
In a district with mixed political leanings, Gibbs has proven herself to be working for everyone and capable of working across the aisle with Democrats to achieve common goals.
According to the Burlington County Times, Gibbs had this to say in an interview: “My plan is to be myself. That means being honest and working hard. Just being the person I am will allow me to distinguish myself.” She plans to win the upcoming Republican primary in June and subsequently the general election in November.
Gibbs has been publicly anti-impeachment. She called the current process “political theater,” and accused it of wasting time and money. “We need people to fix problems rather than have this circus,” she had to say regarding impeachment.
On why she wants to represent New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district, Gibbs explained, “We’re in a moment in time when voters will decide whether to maintain our democracy and the belief in the free market or will we go down this socialist path. It’s a pivotal moment.”
If elected, she will be the first Republican woman to represent New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2002.
In January, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) recognized Kate Gibbs as an “on the radar” candidate. This is part of the 2020 Young Guns program. According to InsiderNJ, “The Young Guns program recognizes campaigns that show organization and fundraising strength, through criteria established by the NRCC, and provides them with the necessary tools to run successful, winning campaigns against their Democratic opponents.” The article further states that Gibbs is the “first and only candidate running for the Third Congressional District to achieve this milestone.”
Contrary to popular belief, New Jersey is not a solidly blue state. There are a healthy number of Republicans and conservatives in most counties. With the proper support and campaigning, a state like New Jersey could feasibly go red.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.