Primary likely for Dems to challenge LoBiondo

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 Primary likely for Dems to challenge LoBiondo

It looks like there will be a race for the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo this year.

Dave Cole, 28, of Mantua Township, has announced that he has enough signatures for a place on the June primary ballot seeking the Democratic nomination to represent New Jersey’s 2nd District in Congress.

In a statement this week announcing that he gathered the 200 signatures needed, Cole set his sights on LoBiondo, a veteran Republican representative.

“As the incumbent Congressman Frank LoBiondo approaches his 20th year in Congress, voters across South Jersey are ready for a change,” reads the statement.

But first, Cole needs the nomination, and to get that, he faces off with candidate Bill Hughes Jr. of Linwood. Hughes announced his campaign early, and already has a strong name recognition in the wide ranging district, the largest in New Jersey. His father was the district’s congressman for 20 years.

Hughes is garnering support within the party, recently gaining the backing of the Ocean City Democratic Committee. He’s also been the target of Republican attacks. The same day he announced his campaign, the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee launched a website lampooning Hughes, criticizing his work as a defense attorney.

In his announcement, Cole makes no mention of Hughes. He said his campaign is aimed at jumpstarting the economy through investments in education, infrastructure and clean energy.

“Just over a month after we kicked off this campaign, we've knocked on hundreds of doors and heard story after story about how South Jersey families are ready for a new generation of leadership,” Cole said. “We are more energized than ever to win this election and bring new ideas and opportunities to our district.”

Cole worked on the Barack Obama campaign in 2008, and worked in the White House as an advisor for technology. He’s been an entrepreneur and software engineer, according to information posted at

He said the work he did at the White House would serve him well in the House of Representatives.

Asked about facing Hughes in a primary, Cole said “our strategy is to focus on what we’re standing for. We believe the campaign should be about issues and ideas.”

This is Cole’s first run for public office.

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