Newcomer Andy Kim beats GOP Rep. MacArthur in New Jersey

New Jersey 3rd Congressional candidate Andy Kim speaks to supporters at the Westin in Mount Laurel while waiting for results on election night.  (Emma Lee/WHYY)

New Jersey 3rd Congressional candidate Andy Kim speaks to supporters at the Westin in Mount Laurel while waiting for results on election night. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Democratic former national security aide to Barack Obama Andy Kim defeated two-term Republican incumbent Rep. Tom MacArthur in New Jersey’s 3rd District, leaving the state GOP with just one House seat in the next Congress.

Kim upset MacArthur in the hotly contested southern New Jersey district, widening the Democrats’ edge in the House.

Kim declared victory last week, but MacArthur did not concede as mail-in and provisional ballots continued to be counted. The Associated Press called the race Wednesday.

The U.S. House historian’s database shows he’s the first Asian-American elected from New Jersey. Kim has never run for or served in elected office before.

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“This from the very beginning was always about the people,” Kim told supporters at his office in Mount Laurel when he declared victory. “I will be part of that new generation of leaders who will step up and do what’s best for the American people. That’s what we need right now.”

MacArthur had said earlier that he was waiting for votes to be counted and did not concede.

“This has been a hard fought campaign and like Andy Kim, I’m ready to see it come to an end,” MacArthur said in a statement last week.

His spokesmen did not immediately respond Wednesday.

The district last elected a Democrat in 2008.

MacArthur was an ally of the president’s but stressed his independence as well. He was the only New Jersey congressmen to vote for the 2017 tax overhaul and backed repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

In an interview, Kim cited a 2017 town hall meeting that MacArthur held during the Affordable Care Act repeal debate as a turning point in the race. MacArthur spoke for hours with an at-times angry crowd over efforts to roll back Obama’s signature legislation.

Kim said he was inspired to run because of the health care issue. He largely stayed away from invoking the president, despite his unpopularity in New Jersey.

AP VoteCast found that most said that Trump was a factor in their vote, while a majority also said the country is headed in the wrong direction.

AP VoteCast is a new nationwide survey of about 138,000 voters and nonvoters — including 3,800 voters and 664 nonvoters in the state of New Jersey — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Kim said he will make it a priority to get a post on the House Armed Services Committee because the southern New Jersey district, which includes Burlington and Ocean counties, also has Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

Kim and Democratic Rep.-elect Tom Malinowski ousted incumbent Republicans, while Representatives-elect Mikie Sherrill and Jeff Van Drew won open Republican seats.

New Jersey will have just one Republican out of 12 seats in the next Congress. Before the election, Republicans controlled five seats, and heading into the 2016 election the delegation was split six to six.

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