MacArthur, Kim spar in Facebook Live face-off

It was a face-off with a twist as the candidates answered a couple dozen rapid-fire questions.

Ian Bush
October 11, 2018 - 11:46 pm
Tom MacArthur

Getty Images North America

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- New Jersey's Third Congressional District race couldn't be closer, according to the latest poll from Monmouth University. Republican Congressman Tom MacArthur and his opponent, Democrat Andy Kim, sought to move the needle in a Facebook Live event today moderated by the Asbury Park Press

It was a face-off with a twist as the candidates answered a couple dozen rapid-fire questions.

Neither thinks New Jersey should legalize recreational marijuana. Both want President Trump to release his tax returns. 

How about the middle class -- is it better off in today's economy?

"Oh, absolutely," MacArthur answered. "Absolutely."

"No," Kim responded. "I think they're continuing to struggle. Forty percent of Americans in this country can't handle a $400 emergency."

Each was asked whether President Trump's trade policies are good for the average person.

"We have been chumps on the world stage for too long, and the president is working to overcome that," said MacArthur. "I worry that we're going to far too fast, but I think we need to give him some breathing room."

"No," Kim said. "I don't think it's been good for the American people."

MacArthur is certain things in the 3rd Congressional District have improved by way of his push to give states more control over health insurance reform and his vote for President Trump's tax plan.

"The vast majority of our people are getting a tax cut," MacArthur said.

Kim is just as sure things are worse for the same reasons -- and says that's why he's running:

"Watching my own representative saying one thing and doing something completely different," Kim said. "Being the only member of Congress in New Jersey to vote 'yes' on that tax bill. These are the types of concerns this election has been about for me."

Kim referenced the struggle on the part of state officials to work around the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap. He contends the bill benefits the wealthiest.

"And ramming it through without a single public hearing -- that was something that upset me as a constituent," he said.

MacArthur says he fought to make the $10,000 SALT cap higher, but argues it had been $0 before his efforts. And the two-term congressman points to a strong economy as proving the benefits of the Trump tax plan.

"We have the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years. The economy -- after languishing at 1.8 percent growth during the prior 10 years -- is now growing at 3.5 to 4 percent a year. Consumer confidence is at the highest in decades."

On health insurance reform, Kim claims he'd protect patients with pre-existing conditions. MacArthur says his amendment already does the job.

The two candidates did find common ground on several issues.

"Yes," climate change is a severe threat, said Kim.

"I don't think politicians should be telling scientists their business," MacArthur said. "It's a serious threat." 

Should New Jersey residents be allowed to carry concealed weapons?

"Yes," said Kim, "but I opposed the concealed carry reciprocity legislation."

"I have supported concealed carry," MacArthur answered, "when it's paired with more thorough and universal background checks.

MacArthur called some mailers in support of his re-election "racist" (one of them used a font typically associated with Chinese restaurants) but he notes they weren't put out by his campaign. 

Kim was asked about his relationship to a group that MacArthur said promoted writings by cop killers and terrorists. The Democrat said he spent a brief time running the Facebook page which was designed to bring together "volunteers" to "have discussions about politics."