Former presidential hopeful Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, visited South Jersey Friday to stump for 3rd District Congressman Tom MacArthur, also a Republican.
After driving from Philadelphia and getting ice cream from a local shop, Kasich told volunteers gathered in Burlington County Republican headquarters in Mount Holly that MacArthur has focused on important issues in his first term, such as lingering problems from Superstorm Sandy, heroin addiction, and mental health care for veterans.
“Tom is smart enough, having had a successful business, to know how to get things done, how to compromise, how not to give away the store,” said Kasich, “but yet to achieve some things.”
Kasich, who dropped out of the presidential race in May, has yet to endorse his former rival and Republican nominee, Donald Trump.
But he said that would not stop him from campaigning for congressional candidates who, like MacArthur, support Trump.
“Everybody has to find their own way on this, and that’s just not a factor,” said Kasich. “I want to make sure that, in fact, no matter who wins we have forces there in the House and the Senate that can make sure that we can have a good agenda going forward.”
An aide said Kasich will likely stump for Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, who is facing a tight race against Democratic opponent Katie McGinty.
In brief remarks to volunteers, MacArthur emphasized the value of solving problems over playing politics and called for a more productive tone in Washington, D.C.
“There’s been a lot of things in this presidential cycle that I think have made all of us cringe,” he said.
But the first-term congressman held firm in his support for Trump, saying that the real estate mogul has raised some important issues, such as immigration.
“We’ve had no substantive discussion with the current president on immigration. I don’t expect we will if Hillary Clinton’s in the White House,” said MacArthur. “I disagree with many of Donald Trump’s answers, but I think there are some of the right questions there.”
MacArthur will face Democrat Fred LaVergne, a former mortgage broker, in the November general election.
New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District covers parts of Burlington and Ocean counties.