Morning Digest: Trumpcare savior Tom MacArthur draws his first major Democratic House challenger

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.

Leading Off

NJ-03: Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur received heaps of scorn after he helped save Trumpcare from the brink of death, and on Monday he just drew his first noteworthy Democratic challenger in 2018 when national security expert Andrew Kim kicked off his campaign. A veteran and Rhodes Scholar, Kim previously served on the National Security Council as the director for Iraq under Obama. He declared his reason for running for the House was MacArthur’s Trumpcare amendment that would allow insurers to charge sick people more for premiums than healthy ones.

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New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District spans from Philadelphia’s eastern suburbs to the Jersey Shore, and the historically Republican seat flipped

52-47 Obama to 51-46 Trump while MacArthur easily won re-election last year. The incumbent is one of the wealthiest members of Congress and will assuredly have as much money as he needs in this district, which covers two of the most expensive media markets for TV ads in the country. However, with Trumpcare already sparking a public opinion backlash nationally, MacArthur may have just seriously endangered his re-election prospects after his amendment was instrumental to securing the bill’s passage in the House.

Kim might not have the Democratic primary to himself though, which would be a vast turnaround for Team Blue compared to 2016, when a weak perennial candidate won the nomination. Locally prominent civil rights attorney Katherine Hartman previously filed the paperwork to run so she could raise money while considering a campaign, but she has yet to make a formal announcement that she’s in the race.

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