Liberal Democrats are working overtime this year to damage Republicans' congressional chances next year. In the 11th congressional district, liberals have found an out-of-district unaffiliated voter to become a Republican in order to challenge incumbent Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen in the GOP primary next June. According to media reports, lawyer Martin Hewitt is running as a "moderate Republican" in order to challenge the national Republican Party platform.
The same thing looks to be happening in the neighboring 5th congressional district, where lawyer John McCann is also running as a "moderate Republican" in the tradition of Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat Arlen Specter. McCann is a political patronage holding Republican who is employed by the elected Democrat Sheriff of Bergen County.
It was McCann who helped deliver Bergen County into the hands of the Democrat Party machine, splitting the party and helping to defeat the Republican County Executive there. After that defeat, McCann responded to the Republican County Executive's claims that it was "traitors" within the GOP who caused Republicans to lose power in Bergen County.
John McCann's candidacy seems designed for failure. Not only has he dropped out of the last two races he got into, but his recent problems with tax liens and such make him a very dubious choice. This has led to speculation that he is the favored candidate of the Democrats and the candidate who incumbent liberal Democrat Josh Gottheimer would prefer to face in November 2018.
The Democrats have a real interest in controlling who runs against Congressman Gottheimer next year. The liberal Democrat's district was carried by President Donald Trump and is decidedly Republican as well as a top target of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has acknowledged that it will be a challenge to keep Congressman Gottheimer's seat in their column in 2018.
So it makes all the sense in the world for the Democrats to help "engineer" who becomes Gottheimer's Republican challenger. McCann, who is actually on the Democrats' payroll, appears to be their perfect choice.
This will be a drama worth watching. So, as always, stay tuned...