New Jersey has not elected a Republican as U.S. Senator since 1972, but a Jordanian immigrant says he’s just the person to end that losing streak.
Bader Qarmout (pronounced BAY-der KAR-moo) of Newton kicked off his campaign Monday for the GOP nomination. He’s running against State Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth County) for the chance to take on incumbent Bob Menendez in the fall.
Qarmout says he would allow illegal immigrants to gain work visas if they get fingerprinted and pass background checks — and pay a $10,000 fine in weekly $20 installments.
“At the end of that assuming no criminal involvement, they have been working, paying taxes they pay a hefty fine on a weekly basis, they stay out of trouble then they can apply for a Green Card,” said Qarmout.
Qarmout says he thinks immigrants would accept the fine as a way to live without the threat of deportation.
He says he has never run for office before, teaches part time at County College of Morris and earns his living as a residential and commercial property landlord. Qarmout says his lack of political experience is a selling point.
“Senator Kyrillos is an entrenched, career, establishment politician,” said Qarmout. “Senator Kyrillos, as a 20 year politician, has been a part of New Jersey’s problem, and cannot possibly be part of Washington’s solution.”
With New Jersey’s primary in June, there is still plenty of time for other candidates to join the race. Kyrillos, a former chairman of the New Jersey Republican Party, has a deep network of contacts. He also is close friends with Governor Chris Christie. Christie already has begun speaking at fundraisers for Kyrillos. He also has years of campaigning experience under his belt.