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Sunday, July 21, 2024

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Bashaw Outlines Key Issues for His Senate Campaign

Christopher South / File Photo
Businessman Curtis Bashaw, center, won the nomination to be the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Robert Menendez. Bashaw hopes to become the first U.S. senator elected out of Cape May County.

By Christopher South

CAPE MAY – Cape May businessman Curtis Bashaw, who hopes to become the first Republican U.S. senator from the state since the 1970s and first ever from Cape May County, will focus on the issues of immigration, foreign affairs and government spending and regulations, among others, in his campaign against Democratic Rep. Andy Kim for the seat.

Bashaw also touted his status as an outsider and a businessman in an interview with the Herald about the upcoming race, adding that he believes people are eager to see leaders from different political persuasions who can communicate with each other.

The businessman wants to see more return on the investment New Jersey makes in the U.S. economy, saying the state is the third- or fourth-largest contributor to the federal government and is 49th in getting money back in support.

“It’s a bad situation, but working with state Sen. (Michael) Testa, the assemblymen, and Congressman (Jeff) Van Drew, we will see success,” he said. “We will see the scales tip more in favor of South Jersey.”

Bashaw was chosen as the Republican candidate for Senate with just under 46% of the vote across the state in the June 4 GOP primary. He said the support he received in Cape May County helped put him over the top; in Cape May, he overwhelmed runner-up Christine Serrano-Glassner by a vote of 7,335 to 1,203.

The businessman called the U.S. border policy “terrible.” He said he visited the border with Mexico and watched from midnight till 2 or 2:30 a.m. as 60 to 70 people simply walked across the boundary.

“It’s like going to bed at night with the back door open and the light on,” he said. “When we’re not taking care of ourselves we’re not in a position to take others. We have to feel safe and secure at home, and securing the border should not be a partisan issue. It’s OK for a sovereign nation to have a secure border.”

With regard to Ukraine, Bashaw said he has always believed America needs to support its friends and allies, but he would rather see Ukraine fend off Russia without using U.S. troops. He said he believes the Biden administration is weak on Ukraine because America is not strong at home.

He criticized Kim, charging that the congressman would not support Israel’s right to protect itself, while Hamas could release hostages every day but doesn’t.

Bashaw said Kim votes with the furthest left side of the Democratic Party, including voting against an antisemitism bill, showing how much the party has changed.

“It’s not your grandmother’s traditional Democratic Party,” he said.

Bashaw said there are other significant issues upon which to challenge both Kim and Sen. Robert Menendez, who is running as an independent.

“Our deficit spending is terrible, our border policy is terrible, and our regulatory environment is not good,” he said. “Small businesses are getting killed, and they are the backbone and front line of the economy. The people are dealing with a very tough economy; the cost of groceries is outrageous.”

Bashaw said he enjoys a certain appeal that helped get Donald Trump elected president – coming from outside the realm of politics.

“People want political outsiders and businesspeople, and I think I fit that position the best, and it all added up to a victory, really,” he said.

“The contrasts are clear. Menendez is a political boss, and Kim is a bureaucrat. I am a businessman who has created jobs and who signs the front side of a paycheck. Voters understand we can’t spend our way into prosperity, and if Menendez runs, I am running against two D.C. insiders instead of one.”

At the same time, if Bashaw is successful in his bid for the Senate, he will find himself working with a D.C. insider, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, who has two more years on his term. However, he believes the two would be able to represent New Jersey well.

“We would work well together, and I look forward to serving with him,” he said.

Bashaw recalled that Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill sat down and worked together on Social Security reform, and he believes voters want leaders with different political views to be able to talk to one another.

He said Americans have the ability to agree on things, such as a secure border, while not agreeing on the numbers, for example.

On the domestic front, he said that recognizing that other people have rights is a notion that has been lost on college campuses today, where he said intolerance has kept students from attending classes. He said signs on campuses have expressed hateful messages that would never have been permitted if they were against gay or Black Americans.

Bashaw credits his primary victory to the hard work his campaign was engaged in between mid-January and the election, saying he had a message that was both hopeful and focused on the issues. He said he traveled across the state and attended every county convention.

“We had 150 events and traveled 52,000 miles between Jan. 15 and June 3,” he said. “Now, we’re talking to all the voters and have just five months.”

Contact the reporter, Christopher South, at csouth@cmcherald.com or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.

Reporter

Christopher South is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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