District 3 congressional candidates campaign ahead of Election Day

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The candidates running in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District spent Friday out campaigning.

Political experts say that District 3, which covers most of Ocean and Burlington counties, is a battleground for control of the House of Representatives.

Republican incumbent Rep. Tom MacArthur is taking on Democratic challenger Andy Kim.

MacArthur, a two-term congressman, started his day in Toms River with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Liz Cheney.

“I try to stay positive but I'm not afraid to throw a punch either. That's how you get things done,” MacArthur said.

MacArthur's seat in Congress got a lot hotter last year after he wrote a key amendment that allowed an Affordable Care Act repeal to pass the House. It was praised by President Donald Trump but failed in the Senate. Democrats vowed to defeat MacArthur.

“We don't need resistance figures in Congress. We need people who work together and solve problems,” MacArthur said.

Power & Politics - Conversation with the Candidates of District 3

MacArthur also toured the Toms River Animal Shelter with his wife, Debbie. He had another official congressional event later in the day at a school before returning to the campaign trail.

“I trust the voters. I think that they know who I am, they know what I stand for,” he said.

Challenger Andy Kim grew up in the 3rd District. He said that he was motivated to run after MacArthur’s health care legislation.

“He took a bill and then, and added on top of that gutting of pre-existing conditions and made it much more dangerous. That's when it was that I decided to step into this race,” said Kim.

Kim spent some time as a Middle East expert in the State Department and National Security Council.

Outside Democratic groups have spent over $6 million attacking MacArthur, while Republican organizations have spent nearly $5 million attacking Kim. Kim says he wants to focus on the district.

“It's very personal for the people here. It's something they recognize affects their day to day,” said Kim.

Polls show a dead heat between MacArthur and Kim in the race.

‘We do have a sense that what happens on Nov. 6 and what direction our country goes after that day could very well come down to who wins the New Jersey 3rd Congressional District,” Kim said.

In 2016, MacArthur won his last election by 20 points over his Democratic opponent. This year, the Cook Political Report rates the 3rd District race as a "toss up,” and says that it could go either Democratic or Republican.

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